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Bed, Bath & Beyond Impacted By Sandy, But Profits Beat Estimates

For the fiscal third quarter ended November 24, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has posted net earnings of $232.8 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, versus $228.5 million, or 95 cents per diluted share, in the period a year ago. The company noted that net sales for the fiscal third quarter gained 15.3% to $2.7 billion, while comparable store sales increased by approximately 1.7%.

Bed, Bath & Beyond announced that the impact of Hurricane Sandy reduced its third quarter comp sales by approximately 0.9 percentage point.

An average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for earnings to come in at $1.02 per share, however, sales fell short of analyst expectations.

Despite any short-term challenges, Wedbush Morgan analyst Joan Storms, in a research note, observed, “On a longer-term basis, we believe BBBY is still a solid growth story and should continue to benefit from industry dominance, good visibility for cross-merchandising opportunities— HBA, food—  future growth potential for newer concepts and strong balance sheet and cash flow.”

Bed, Bath & Beyond’s third quarter comp was driven by an increase in average transaction partially offset by a decrease in number of transactions due, in part, to Hurricane Sandy-related effects and a decision to open fewer stores on Thanksgiving, Steven Tamares, the company’s CEO, said in a conference call. Decrease in gross profit margin as a percentage of net sales resulted from an increase in couponing, with redemption and average coupon amount both up, as well as a relative increase in the sales of lower-margin goods.

As of November 24, Bed, Bath & Beyond operated a total of 1,466 stores. The total includes 1,003 Bed Bath & Beyond stores in all 50 of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada, 264 stores under the names of World Market, Cost Plus World Market, or World Market Stores, 74 stores under the names of Christmas Tree Shops or andThat!, 78 buybuy BABY stores and 47 stores under names Harmon or Harmon Face Values. The company also is a partner in a joint venture which operates two stores in the Mexico City market under the name Home & More.

In the third quarter, Bed Bath & Beyond opened four namesake, seven buybuy BABY, six World Market and one andThat! store while shuttering one Bed Bath & Beyond location. Since the beginning of the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter on November 25, Bed Bath & Beyond has opened one namesake and two buybuy BABY stores.

In the conference call, Bed, Bath & Beyond related that it has added two new specialty food and beverage departments, operations that have draw from the recently acquired Cost Plus World Market chain, in the third quarter, one each in Schaumburg, IL, and Tyson Corners, VA. The company said it would continue growing Bed, Bath & Beyond to approximately 1,300 stores in the United States and Canada while expanding Christmas Tree Shops, Cost Plus and buybuy Baby across the U.S. It also plans to add new Harmon locations and branded health & beauty care departments in select stores operating under its other banners. The company will invest in growing its registry business and in upgrading its e- and mobile-commerce operations as well. Bed, Bath & Beyond, which once was lukewarm in its enthusiasm for online-based operations, recently added an e-commerce fulfillment center in Pendergrass, GA.