It was an ailing homeware retailer that became a star among amateur traders last year when it was designated a so-called meme stock—but troubled company Bed Bath & Beyond conceded, again, on Thursday that it isn’t in good financial shape.
Bed Bath & Beyond said in a business update that it was considering its options amid uncertainty around whether it could continue to fund many of its operations.
Avenues the company said it may take to raise cash included pursuing relief through bankruptcy courts, refinancing existing debt, reducing business activities, and selling assets. However, its leadership warned: “These measures may not be successful.”
Bed Bath & Beyond’s statement went on to make a frank admission that while the firm was making efforts to improve its cash position, recurring losses and negative cash flow in the nine months to Nov. 26 meant there was “substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue” operations.
The retailer’s shares tanked more than 24% on the back of the announcement, sinking below $2 shortly after the opening bell in New York.
Sue Gove, President & CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, said in a statement on Thursday that much of the liquidity shortfall had been caused by inventory constraints, with reduced credit limits resulting in “lower levels of in-stock presentation and within the assortments that our customers expect.”
“Consequently, we have already leveraged the liquidity gained from the holiday season to immediately pursue higher in-stock levels with support from our key vendors. We have seen trends improve when in-stock levels have increased,” she said.
The announcement came ahead of the firm’s third-quarter earnings report, which it said it had decided to delay due to a need for additional time to complete its quarter-end close procedures.
However, it said on Thursday that it expected to report a net loss of around $385.8 million for its fiscal third quarter, up from a loss of $276.4 million a year earlier.
Net sales for the quarter were expected to come in at $1.3 billion, compared to $1.9 billion for the same period in 2021—which it blamed on lower customer traffic and reduced inventory availability.
Last year, Bed Bath & Beyond unveiled a turnaround strategy which Gove said Thursday the company remained committed to.
How Bed Bath & Beyond became a meme stock
Last year, Bed Bath & Beyond’s shares surged when it was gripped by meme stock mania—a trend where a company’s shares skyrocket after gaining viral popularity via social media.
However, the retail giant had a turbulent 2022, with top executives being pushed out, layoffs and store closures, public criticism from investors and warnings from credit ratings agency Moody’s that the firm has a high chance of defaulting on debt — all of which meant the hype around its stock was short-lived.
Anthony Chukumba, an analyst at Loop Capital, told Yahoo Finance at the end of last year that the company “will be gone” by the end of 2023, arguing that it is “simply not relevant anymore.”
While Bed Bath & Beyond’s shares surpassed $26 at in August, their value quickly plummeted. Over the past 12 months, the company’s stock has lost almost 87% of its value.
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