Just a day after being named permanent CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, Sue Gove hosted around 500 vendors virtually and at the company’s New Jersey headquarters to make her case for sticking with the struggling home chain.
During the two-hour session, Gove and her team outlined Bed Bath & Beyond’s strategy for reversing the the downward trajectory the company has been on during the past several years. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Gove said she doesn’t believe bankruptcy is on the horizon for the home goods retailer, and she’s optimistic that the new strategy will make a positive difference.
That strategy includes a departure from the private brand push led by prior CEO Mark Tritton and a return to focusing on national brands to help regain lost market share. Bed Bath & Beyond also announced plans to close around 150 stores over the coming year, with the first 56 of those named in September, as well as a 20 percent reduction in corporate and supply chain jobs as part of its restructuring.
Bed Bath & Beyond also recently secured $500 million in financing for incremental liquidity, including an expanded asset-based loan facility of $1.13 billion and $375 million in the form of a first-in, last-out loan.
Gove also took the summit as an opportunity to assure vendors that the company would make good on its commitments to its suppliers. The retailer had fallen behind on payments to suppliers, but has recently caught up on those bills.
“There were some challenges under prior regimes, but I believe we are on a solid footing to repair the relationships,” Gove said. “Our accounts payable are as clean as they have ever been.”
Following its vendor meeting, Bed Bath & Beyond filed a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Oct. 28, registering additional shares of its common stock, par value $0.01 per share for sale under the company’s at the market offering program, pursuant to the company’s existing open market sale agreement with Jefferies LLC.
According to the filing, Bed Bath & Beyond intends to use the net proceeds, if any, after deducting the sales agent’s commission and the company’s offering expenses, for immediate strategic priorities such as rebalancing the retailer’s assortment and inventory, and addressing debt.
An additional disclosure in the filing also revealed that Bed Bath & Beyond became aware in October of a possible data breach. The breach occurred via a phishing scam, with data from the company’s hard drive and shared drives being improperly accessed by a third party. The retailer did not confirm whether or not sensitive or personal data was a part of that breach, saying they’re still investigating.
“At this time, the company has no reason to believe that any such sensitive or personally identifiable information was accessed or that this event would be likely to have a material impact on the company,” the filing said.