Struggling retailer Bed Bath & Beyond reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss of $393 million Tuesday, up 42% from its year-ago loss.
The company has lost more than $1 billion over the first nine months of its fiscal year, is implementing more layoffs and cost cuts, and is in the process of closing at least 150 stores.
Yet Bed Bath’s stock was up by as much as 20% Tuesday morning after soaring by about 24% on Monday.
If you’re confused by the mixed signals, just think back to GameStop, AMC and other so-called meme stocks that embark on crazy increases for no good reason whatsoever.
What’s typically happening in these cases is that a relatively few bulls and speculators are driving shares higher in hopes that more-gullible investors will pile in seeking easy money.
Don’t do it. This is what’s known as the “greater fool theory” — the notion that less-savvy investors will push share prices even higher, allowing the savvier players to cash out and leave others holding the bag.
Bed Bath & Beyond warned last week that a bankruptcy filing could be imminent, and many analysts believe it’s inevitable, possibly within the next few weeks.
As an investment, therefore, the company is a terrible place to park your money, at least until there’s clarity about its future.
CEO Sue Gove says Bed Bath is dealing with it problems in a “timely manner.”
“Although we moved quickly and effectively to change the assortment and other merchandising and marketing strategies, inventory was constrained and we did not achieve our goals,” she acknowledged in a statement Tuesday.
The company’s difficulties run deeper, however. Bed Bath has yet to find the secret sauce for selling its wares in a retail landscape dominated by Amazon and other online outlets.
It’s also seemingly at a loss to develop the “experiential” offerings that other big-box stores are exploring — making visits to its stores more of an experience than mere shopping.
Until Bed Bath can figure all this out, and until it resolves its current financial woes, this is a stock to steer clear of.
Unless “greater fool” is a label you’re comfortable with.
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