As I drove through the streets of Moscow, Idaho, this weekend, I saw a huge sign blinding my eyesight saying 90% off store closing, Bed Bath and Beyond. My heart sank a little bit as I used to be a former employee. I cried inside for my Amazing boss that ran the store that would soon be no more.
Bed Bath and Beyond has entered Bankruptcy after losing shoppers, money, and employees. The store plans to start closing all 360 of the stores left and 120 BuyBuy Baby stores. Stores scramble to sell what’s left on the empty shelves, and shoppers pull out the 20% off coupons they have been saving for the last ten years.
Bed Bath and Beyond started in 1971 in New Jersey and grew fast with their simple, cute designs filling the shelves. Even through the Great Recession, Bed Bath and Beyond still stood firm. In 2018 the store hit a peak of more than 1,500 stores. College kids and parents swamped my local store in Moscow every fall, searching for new dorm room decor and the best-heated blanket.
So what went wrong? Many people think that Bed Bath and Beyond missed the digital cue. With Amazon and Target being online so soon, business started booming, while Bed Bath and Beyond was not online until a few years ago. The store was hit hard by Covid-19 and shut down many stores temporarily, while other competitors, such as Target, stayed open and had everything someone needed to make it through the pandemic. While other stores were selling out of toilet paper and hand soap, Bed Bath and Beyond was closed to the public.
“I actually think they were able to pull a genie out of a hat once or twice by staving off bankruptcy, but at the end of the day, it’s a broken model, and they had lost a lot of faith from not only investors but suppliers, which are arguably more important,” said Snyder, who has been a bankruptcy lawyer for 30 years.
“Secured creditors, they get creditor fatigue, and they’re not going to let them sit around and fund losses while they find a buyer because they tried to do that outside the bankruptcy,” he said.
52-year-old CEO of Bed Bath and Beyond, Gustavo Arnal, joined in 2020 and took his life in September 2022, days after the store announced that they were closing stores all over and laying off employees. Arnal previously worked as a CFO for the cosmetic brand Avon in London. A hard wake-up call for the corporate chiefs and a tragic reminder that status and money do not shield from emotional distress.
With the many hardships the beloved store has faced, it might be time to close this chapter. A chapter we are all sad to see close, but one that is for the better.