Weather Chills Bed, Bath & Beyond Q4 Sales

For the 13-week fiscal fourth quarter ended March 1, Bed Bath & Beyond posted net earnings of $333.3 million, or $1.60 per diluted share, versus $373.9 million, or $1.68 per diluted share, in the 14-week fiscal fourth quarter of 2012. Net sales were $3.2 billion in the 2013 fourth quarter versus $3.4 billion in the year-earlier period while comparable store sales gained 1.7%.

The retailer had warned investors that cold winter weather would hurt its earnings for the period and cut its guidance. In early March its CEO, Steven Temares, said, “Despite the weather related challenges, we are pleased with our quarter. Absent the disruptive weather, we believe we would have been comfortably within our sales and net earnings per share ranges of our model.”

In a conference call following the fourth quarter earnings release, Temares noted that infrastructure investment also has put pressure on earnings, but that the company expects substantial pay off longer term. In 2013, the company re-platformed and improved functionality of its buybuy Baby and Bed Bath & Beyond websites, initiating a selling component to the Christmas Tree Shops website, re-platformed its mobile sites and apps while at the same time enhancing information technology, analytics, marketing and E-commerce departments so they could better lead omnichannel initiatives, he pointed out. Temares added that Bed, Bath & Beyond completed the construction of a new IT data center in North Carolina and now is equipping the facility to enhance our recovery capabilities and support its overall IT systems.

In addition, the company installed energy-efficient lighting and heating and cooling systems in stores, he said, noting that it also deployed advanced systems and equipment that enables stores to adopt new technologies and processes.

In 2014, Temares stated, Bed, Bath & Beyond would add new functionalities and assortments while advancing new technology-based initiatives involving point of sale systems, internal operations and in-store customer pickup.

For the 52-week fiscal year, Bed, Bath & Beyond reported net earnings of $1.02 billion, or $4.79 per diluted share, versus $1.04 billion, or $4.56 per diluted share, for the 53 weeks of fiscal 2012. Net sales were $11.5 billion, the company reported, up 5.4% from sales posted in fiscal 2012, while comps increased by 2.4% year over year.

As of March 1, Bed, Bath & Beyond operated 1,496 stores, including 1,014 namesake stores in all 50 of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada, as well as 265 stores under the names of World Market, Cost Plus World Market or Cost Plus, 90 buybuy BABY stores, 77 stores under the names of Christmas Tree Shops, Christmas Trees Shops andThat! or andThat!, and 50 stores under the names of Harmon or Harmon Face Values. In the fourth quarter, the company opened three Bed Bath & Beyond stores, four buybuy Baby stores, one Harmon Face Values store and one Christmas Tree Shops andThat! store while closing four Cost Plus World Market stores. In addition to its U.S. and Canadian operations, the company remains a partner in a joint venture that operates four stores in the Mexico City market under the name Bed Bath & Beyond.