retail watch | Jan 18, 2024 |
Bed Bath & Beyond’s Canadian reboot isn’t going so well

The latest bad news coming out of Canada on the retrenchment of Rooms + Spaces, the relaunched version of the country’s former Bed Bath & Beyond operation, seems to indicate that BBB’s problems were contagious.

When Rooms + Spaces launched last summer after taking over BBB’s business north of the border, there were 24 stores. Less than a year later, the website currently lists only eight, and a former employee with direct knowledge of the situation says that there have been significant layoffs at the corporate office. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

A little backstory. In May 2023, only a few weeks after BBB filed for bankruptcy on its way to liquidation, Putman Investments, an Ancaster, Ontario–based company run by entrepreneur Doug Putman, bought the 24 stores that had operated under both the Bed Bath & Beyond and BuyBuy Baby brands. Putman, who also owns the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands in Canada as well as holdings in the music and entertainment fields, launched Rooms + Spaces across the country with great fanfare. Now the brand appears to have radically scaled back.

The exact timeline of each store closure is unclear, but according to a report on the news site Vancouver Is Awesome, a location closed in the city last December after a landlord seized the property, citing default on payments.

The same month, Business of Home reported that Greg Dyer, a former Bed Bath & Beyond executive who had been hired to run Rooms + Spaces, had left the company. That story also referenced vendors who said they had not been paid for orders or were being paid very slowly—some as late as 180 days.

Brian Tan, the retailer’s assistant vice president and head merchant, wrote to the vendors at the time: “We remain committed to our vision, and I have full confidence in the team’s ability to drive Rooms + Spaces to greater heights in 2024.” Since then, some vendors have been paid back at a significant discount, and at least two have stopped doing business with the company entirely.

Other parts of what had once been the Bed Bath & Beyond empire are in various states of disrepair. Christmas Tree Shops, which had been sold off several years before BBB went out of business, shut down operations last year. Meanwhile, the flagship brand has its own problems.

The Bed Bath & Beyond IP, which was bought by Overstock.com last year, has come under fire from investors, resulting in the ouster of its CEO—and TV’s turnaround guru Marcus Lemonis coming in to revamp its strategy and operations. Since the company bought the BBB assets and began trading under its new corporate name, Beyond Inc., its stock price has dropped by almost a third.

The various pieces of the once-mighty empire have struggled for very different reasons. But collectively, they demonstrate how difficult it is to strip a broken business for parts and make something new. It’s also fair to wonder if, after so many years of drama and decline, the Bed Bath & Beyond name is permanently tarnished.


Warren Shoulberg is the former editor in chief for several leading B2B publications. He has been a guest lecturer at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business; received honors from the International Furnishings and Design Association and the Fashion Institute of Technology; and been cited by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other media as a leading industry expert. His Retail Watch columns offer deep industry insights on major markets and product categories.

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