Overstock bought Bed Bath & Beyond’s name. Now it just needs to get its customers.
In reporting lackluster third-quarter financial results on Thursday morning, the online home retailer recorded losses on both the top and bottom lines, continuing a distressing trend. Anyone waiting for a comeback after its June purchase of Bed Bath & Beyond’s intellectual property and its July online rebrand will have to keep waiting.
The Q3 numbers were not encouraging, even if they were largely expected—and might show some leveling off after the three years of decline that followed Overstock’s conversion to a home-only platform. Net revenue declined 19 percent versus a year ago, worse than analyst projections. Its net loss was $63 million, which beat forecasts but is still a significant dose of red ink.
If those financial results didn’t reassure anyone, they probably did not lower investor confidence either. The company’s stock price was basically flat in Thursday morning trading, though still less than half its peak from over the summer, right after the Bed Bath & Beyond acquisition, which Wall Street largely applauded. Maybe hoping for a little bit more of the same kudos, immediately prior to the call, Overstock announced that it would be changing its corporate name to Beyond Inc.
Diving into the numbers, it’s the customer counts that may raise some eyebrows. Overstock’s active customers dropped 15 percent versus a year ago, even with the 20 million new shopper names that came along with the BBB purchase. (Optimists could point to the fact that the Q3 number was up versus the count from the second quarter.)
Ordering frequency also dropped against the same quarter last year, by 9 percent, and the average value of those orders plummeted 21 percent compared to a year ago, with orders delivered showing a similar decline.
It should be noted that all of these year-over-year comparisons are against results from before the Bed Bath & Beyond acquisition, during the earlier stages of Overstock’s home-focused rebrand, a point that CEO Jonathan Johnson emphasized in his comments on the earnings release.
“We are in the early stages of capitalizing on our recent acquisition,” Johnson said. “Since launching the new Bed Bath & Beyond in the U.S. on August 1, we have been successful in acquiring new customers and reactivating past customers. Total active customers grew sequentially after over two years. … As I’ve said from the onset, growing the customer file is our primary measure of success. Orders have returned to positive year-over-year growth for the first time in over two years. This acquisition has positioned us for growth over the long term.”
That may be the case, but Bed Bath & Beyond née Overstock has much to do to achieve that growth spurt. In the meantime, it is most certainly a work in progress.
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.