Bed Bath & Beyond exploring options including bankruptcy, shares fall 13%

Jan 5 (Reuters) – Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (BBBY.O) on Thursday said it was exploring options including a bankruptcy filing to address the US home goods retailer’s plunging sales, dwindling cash and debt load, sending its shares tumbling.

The retailer in a regulatory filing said there was substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern, adding that it was continuing to explore strategic alternatives including restructuring or refinancing debt or seeking bankruptcy protection.

Bed Bath & Beyond’s fortunes dwindled and its stock collapsed in value after it pursued a strategy focused on its own private-label goods. The retailer’s management has since reversed course and has aimed to bring in national brands.

The company became a meme stock last year when its shares soared more than 400%. Activist investor Ryan Cohen, the chairman of GameStop Corp (GME.N), took a stake in Bed Bath & Beyond, which he later sold, sending shares crashing.

Shares of the company were down 13% at $2.10 in premarket trading on Thursday as it also expects to record a loss of $385.5 million and see a 33% decline in sales for the third quarter.

“Our financial performance was negatively impacted by inventory constraints as we partnered with our suppliers to navigate both micro- and macro-economic challenges,” Chief Executive Officer Sue Gove said.

Bed Bath & Beyond in its prior financial update in the fall said it had liquidity of $850 million but had burned through $325 million in the quarter.

Analysts have estimated that it will go through $1.5 billion in cash over the next two years.

The company had also been asking bondholders to swap out their holdings for new debt to give it more breathing room to turn around its business but canceled the deal on Thursday after not getting much interest from investors, according to filings made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bed Bath & Beyond had earlier considered selling its valuable buybuy baby stores that sell goods for infants and toddlers but held off in the hopes it could later fetch a higher price, Reuters reported.

The value of the chain helped the retailer ink a $375 million loan, the maximum amount it could borrow.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Subhranshu Sahu and Mark Porter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Jessica DiNapoli

Thomson Reuters

New York-based reporter covering US consumer products spanning from paper towels to packaged food, the companies that make them and how they’re responding to the economy. Previously reported on corporate boards and distressed companies.


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