From new formats to game-changing omnichannel strategies, and with the coronavirus pandemic impacting all aspects of the industry, the world of retail continued to evolve in 2020 as a number of leading chains and e-commerce pure-plays launched a range of key initiatives in an effort to enhance differentiation from their competitors.
Housewares and home were a focal point for many of these omnichannel-oriented retailers, which worked with leading vendors to launch new assortments ranging from kitchenware to home furnishings.
HomeWorld’s fourth annual Retailers To Watch, in the November 16 issue, takes a look at eight retailers that have made moves to further strengthen their respective businesses heading into 2021 through a range of initiatives, from new omnichannel directions to new retail formats. Selected by the HomeWorld editorial staff, each retailer selected is taking aim at growing top-level sales in the coming year and placing housewares and home at the forefront of their respective growth strategies.
On the heels of announcing its restructuring plan in February in order to simplify operations and cut costs, Bed Bath & Beyond has accelerated its digital-first, omni-always transformation as it battles the changing face of retail due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the leadership of Mark Tritton, Bed Bath & Beyond’s president and CEO, the company has shored up its executive team, adding top level executives to oversee the retailer’s continued restructuring efforts, while at the same laying off some 2,800 roles across the company to streamline operations, as well as the closing of approximately 200 retail stores over the next two years. It also recently sold The Christmas Tree Shops, its institutional Linen Holdings business, and a distribution center located in Florence, NJ. That follows the sale of PersonalizationMall.com earlier this year.
As a result of its combined efforts, particularly its digital-first push, the retailer turned a profit in the second quarter of 2020, while making comparable store sales gains buoyed by a significant digital comp increase of 89%. In the second quarter, the company’s net earnings were $217.9 million versus a net loss of $138.8 million during the same period in 2019.
What To Watch
As the retailer comes off a successful second quarter, it continues to leverage the continued consumer interest in making home a priority, in order to accelerate its restructuring program, with an eye on future profits. Bed Bath & Beyond recently announced during an Investors Day, a future growth strategy that will have it invest approximately $1 billion to $1.5 billion in the business through fiscal year 2023. According to Tritton, the goal of the plan is to further elevate the shopping experience, modernize the company’s operations, and unlock sales growth, margin expansion, increased cash flow and strong and sustainable total shareholder return.
Highlights of the investments include resetting its stores with a fresh merchandising strategy designed to curate a differentiated product assortment in order to capture additional market share. The remodel plan is projected to cost $250 million over the next three years, across 450 stores. In addition, Bed Bath and Beyond said it plans to launch more than 10 private label brands over the next 18 months.
Additional efforts to help the retailer create opportunities for market share growth is Bed Bath & Beyond’s plan to increase the availability of opening pricepoints and value-tier products, but also enhancing the customer experience in destination rooms that will provide ease in shopping and inspiration in-store and online. —Lauren DeBellis
2021 Retailers To Watch (click on name for profile)