Wed, Jun 29, 2022 4:41 PM
By MICHELLE CHAPMAN, AP Business Writer
Bed Bath & Beyond's CEO was ousted Wednesday as the home goods retailer struggles to figure out what people want to buy.
Board member Sue Gove will take over as interim CEO, the company said Wednesday, replacing Mark Tritton. Bed Bath & Beyond hired Tritton in late 2019. He'd previously been the chief merchandising officer at Target where the more than 30 new brands he introduced were key in that company's revitalization.
Tritton's exit followed the release of the company's fiscal first quarter financial report Wednesday showing that sales plunged 25%.
Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. closed Wednesday down $1.54, or nearly 24%, at $4.99.
Activist investor Ryan Cohen, the billionaire founder of the pet retailer Chewy, revealed a huge stake in Bed, Bath & Beyond this year and has pressured the company to improve sales. As part of a pact with Cohen, the company added three new directors in March and began exploring the sale of its Buybuy Baby chain.
Gove said in a prepared statement that the retailer “must deliver improved results," and that she would address numerous issues the company must contend with.
“Top-tier execution, careful management of costs, greater supply chain reliability, prudent capital spending, a stronger balance sheet, and robust digital capabilities will all be important to our success," she said.
Gove has been on the company board since May 2019. She has more than 30 years of experience in the retail industry and was CEO of Golfsmith International, as well as the chief operating officer at the jewelry chain Zales.
In March 2021, Tritton announced that Bed Bath & Beyond was going to launch a slew of new store brands to try to attract younger customers. The chain had recognized that its stores were cluttered and that it had lost customers to Target, Walmart and Macy's.
“We were over-assorted. It was a bit of a jumble,” Tritton told The Associated Press at the time.
Bed Bath & Beyond also announced Wednesday that it's hired retail advisory firm Berkeley Research Group to help with cash, inventory and balance sheet optimization. In addition, the Union, New Jersey-based chain hired search firm Russell Reynolds to assist in finding a permanent CEO.
AP Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio in New York contributed to this report.