retail watch | Jun 20, 2024 |
Bed Bath & Beyond shakes up leadership—again

The hits just keep on coming for Bed Bath & Beyond’s owner, Beyond Inc. … Unfortunately, they are not on the selling floor.

A year after what used to be called Overstock.com bought the chain’s brand name and assets—and just seven months after Beyond Inc.’s board kicked out CEO Jonathan Johnson, bringing in TV retail guru Marcus Lemonis—the company has once again undergone a corporate restructuring. This comes only months following the last shakeup, and seemingly reverses course on exactly who will be leading the company’s turnaround.

Earlier this week, Lemonis announced that Beyond Inc. is parting ways with Chandra Holt, the former Walmart exec who only four months ago was brought in to run the BBB division. Dave Nielsen, one of the few holdovers from the former Overstock management, has been named company president, overseeing all its brands, including the recently acquired Zulily. Yet evidently Lemonis, the executive chairman, is still running the show—the question is whether he’s running it into the ground.

In the reorganization, Lemonis will take on yet more responsibilities. “As a company, we are intent on achieving profitability. We believe margin improvement, SG&A reduction, efficiency and alignment are the key factors that will get us there, and we are therefore streamlining and flattening our organization to reflect what we believe will yield greater efficiencies and better results,” he said in a release announcing the news. “I’m pleased with the sequential progress we are making and clearly see the path to our goal.”

Lemonis has spent much of the past six months loading up the executive team, bringing on assorted levels of managers, but it’s not yet clear who, if anyone, is exiting other than Holt.

In analyst calls regarding the company’s ongoing dismal financial performance, and in an oddly positioned “town hall” online meeting with vendors and shareholders several months ago, Lemonis’s voice was clearly the one that mattered, as he often countermanded subordinates’ statements, commandeering any and all questions regardless of whom they were addressed to.

So presumably he is also the one responsible for Beyond’s recent performance. Since reaching a high of nearly $36 a share in March, the company stock price plummeted to $13 a share in June, its 52-week low. Despite the optimism coming from Lemonis, the brand continues to lose on both its top and bottom lines.

The executive repeatedly offers up Camping World—where he is chairman and CEO—as proof of concept for his strategies. However, the outdoor retail brand registered an 8 percent revenue decline in its first quarter, despite opening 13 new locations in that period. In the meantime, the company’s bottom line swung from profit to loss for Q1.

For the sake of Bed Bath & Beyond’s loyal customers, its struggling suppliers and its 1,000-plus employees, the hope is that Beyond Inc. is not on a path to becoming a two-time loser—few retailers get a third chance. Lemonis talks about building a great company, but if the current trajectory continues, he might be steering it toward the great beyond.


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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