Category: Bed Bath And Beyond

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Bed Bath & Beyond – The Home Goods Retailer Making Homes More Welcoming

Bed Bath & Beyond (BB&B) opened its first two stores in New Jersey in 1971, founded by Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein. What started as a humble beginning has grown into one of the most recognizable big-box retailers for home furnishings and decor in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. With over 30,000 employees and over 900 store locations, Bed Bath & Beyond has become a staple for shoppers looking to outfit their homes with quality goods at affordable prices.

Humble Beginnings to Industry Leader

Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein recognized that specialty household item retailing was an underserved market in the early 1970s. Most department stores had sporadic and disorganized assortments of household items, making it frustrating for shoppers to track down essentials for their homes.

The pair set out to create a chain of specialty retail stores that offered welcoming, well-organized displays of kitchenware, bedding, bath accessories, and an endless array of related home goods under one roof. They wanted shopping for household items to be fun and inspiring, not a chore.

The first Bed Bath And Beyond stores opened in Springfield and Paramus, New Jersey in 1971. The concept was a defining success, thanks to the broad, voyeuristic assortment of merchandise and the stores’ visually striking displays that encouraged browsing. Sales climbed steadily as more stores opened during the 1980s and 1990s along the East Coast.

Eisenberg and Feinstein took the company public in 1992 to fund its national expansion. Bed Bath & Beyond continued opening 50 or more new stores per year, reaching all 50 states by 2000. The retailer also commenced online sales and international expansion starting in 2004.

Today the company boasts over 900 stores total with plans for modest but steady future expansion. Annual revenues now exceed $10 billion as Bed Bath & Beyond has solidified itself as one of the country’s premier big-box chains and leading homegoods sellers.

Shopping Experience

Stores Appeal to Browsing Shoppers

The typical Bed Bath & Beyond spans about 40,000 square feet and contains around 60,000 different products. The open floorplans and clear signage encourage shoppers to wander every aisle marveling at the extensive collections of merchandise.

Displays feature everything for cooking, dining, cleaning, decorating, storage solutions, bath accessories, linens, furniture, seasonal items, and college dorm living. Rather than segmenting by product type, items are grouped together into lifestyle collections. For example, the kitchen department combines appliances, cookware, cutlery, gadgets, tea and coffee sets, glassware, and more into adjoining displays for one-stop shopping convenience.

Bed Bath & Beyond stores are meant to resemble specialty boutiques rather than sterile big box outlets. Product-laden aisles seem curated to spark inspiration and encourage impulse purchases. Sale signs and value messaging are subtle so as not to detract from the harmonious displays. Knowledgeable associates offer guidance without seeming overbearing.

The sensory experience evokes positivity and possibilities. You may enter looking for new sheets but leave with bags full of matching towels, shower caddies, rugs, and cleaning tools after wandering through the well-appointed lifestyle vignettes.

Own Brands Next to Recognizable Names

Another signature of Bed Bath & Beyond is the way it intersperses its collection of owned and exclusive brands amongst national brands to provide good, better, best options to its customers. Shoppers can find familiar names like KitchenAid, Conair, and Scotch alongside unique BB&B brands like Bee & Willow, Simply Essential, and Nestwell.

Nestwell offers an extensive selection of quality bedding and bath textiles covering a wide assortment of colors, prints, and materials at opening price points. Bee & Willow presents boutique-worthy home decor, furniture, and accents. Simply Essential provides an everyday assortment of household necessities. BB&B’s range of owned brand products covers pretty much every department in-store.

The collaboration of recognizable national products and owned brands allows BB&B to offer exceptional variety and value across all price points. Shoppers trust they can outfit their entire home with quality pieces without breaking the bank thanks to this hybrid merchandising strategy.

Ecommerce Site Enhances Omnichannel Experience launched in 2004 to supplement its brick-and-mortar locations, not replace them. The website simply expands the scope of products carried and provides an always-available storefront to complement the in-person shopping experience.

The ecommerce site closely mirrors the boutique-like shopping environment cultivated in physical stores. Shoppers can browse not only by product type but also by lifestyle need or room. Gift finders, buying guides, and trend reports offer inspiration alongside nearly limitless assortments of merchandise.

The online store also provides visibility into real store inventory availability. Local pickup and fast, free shipping on orders over $39 keep products moving swiftly from warehouses to homes.

Bed Bath & Beyond’s unified commerce approach allows the brand to serve customers however they choose to shop while maintaining brand consistency across channels. Investments into digital experience have bolstered already strong consumer sentiment to accelerate growth into the future.

Private Label Brands Expand Reach

Bed Bath & Beyond revolutionized home goods retailing by grouping complementary products together in aesthetically pleasing lifestyle vignettes rather than relegating products to distinct departments. Its private label offerings now further differentiate its harmonized shopping experience from competitors.

BB&B commenced development of exclusive owned and operated brands back in the late 1990s. Product designers focused first on basics like lighting, storage solutions, dorm room furnishings, and textiles. Owned brands revenue reached over $1 billion by 2004.

The company has significantly expanded its portfolio of distinctive brands over the past decade. It now operates nearly a dozen in-house labels spanning every category from kitchen essentials to home decor. Designers find white space opportunities between national brand offerings to create owned products with unique value propositions.

For example, Bee & Willow fills gaps in the modern farmhouse decor category with boutique-worthy furniture and accent pieces. Squared Away offers storage and organization solutions not found amongst existing merchandise. Hudson Park provides luxury bath linens and accessories.

Owned brands foster enhanced differentiation from other big box retailers that stock predominantly identical assortments of name brand products. Exclusive offerings also cultivate greater loyalty and affinity as shoppers can only find certain collections at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Customer-Focused Evolution

Bed Bath & Beyond built itself into a home goods heavyweight through relentless focus on the customer experience. While competitors like Linens N’ Things and retail legends like Sears faltered through lack of innovation, BB&B continues adapting its concept to align with shifting consumer behaviors and needs.

Leadership recognized the disruptions in-store traffic and sales from emergent ecommerce players like Amazon and growing off-price chains like HomeGoods (TJX) over the past decade. They’ve invested hundreds of millions into omnichannel capabilities, supply chain agility, and Website UX upgrades to fortify its competitive stance.

Executives also noted shifts towards value-based spending and desire for more sustainable products. This spurred the rapid growth of lower price-point owned brands like Simply Essential and introduction of new environmentally-conscious offerings across categories.

Bed Bath & Beyond also embarked on rightsizing its sprawling real estate footprint by closing over 200 underperforming locations since 2019. They’ve introduced more localized assortments catering to area demographics in remaining outposts and emphasize in-store experiences through cooking classes, expert design services, and enhanced visual presentation.

While legacy retailers crumble amidst industry transformations, BB&B continues reinventing itself by placing its loyal customers at the center of every strategic decision. Its intense focus on the home category also uniquely positions itself to emerge stronger than ever as nesting and home-centric lifestyles gain prevalence post-pandemic.

Looking Towards the Future

Bed Bath & Beyond encountered recent turbulence thanks to executive leadership changes, supply chain struggles, and burdensome debts that suppressed stock price and profits. But its sound underlying business fundamentals and ardent customer base position it for brighter days ahead.

New leadership arrived in 2020 to course-correct Bed Bath’s trajectory back towards sustainable growth. Mark Tritton brought decades of experience revamping Target and Nordstrom’s private label programs to build equity in BB&B’s owned brands portfolio. Recently appointed senior executives from Walmart, Amazon, and other leading retailers also join him to usher in a new era.

Their energy has already borne fruit operationally. Simplified organizational structure, accelerated investments into stores and digital platforms, and strategic plans to reduce inventory bloat by $1 billion will unlock greater nimbleness and efficiency. Steps to close further underperforming locations, exit non-core owned brands, and secure new financing will additionally free up capital to modernize supply chain infrastructure and IT systems for scalable expansion.

Having withstood half a century of industry evolution, Bed Bath & Beyond has shown resiliency rivaling the greatest retailers. Its differentiated positioning in the home category and comprehensive omnichannel capabilities continue resonating with modern consumers.

Once current operational fixes gain traction to reduce expenses and debt, profitable growth can reignite. Bed Bath & Beyond retains strong potential to rediscover its ascent as not only an anchor tenant in shopping centers, but also living rooms across North America thanks to reliability honed over its 50-year journey.