Bed Bath has reopened most stores … but plans to permanently close 200 of them

On one hand, Bed Bath & Beyond — grappling with the COVID-19 crisis like so many other retailers — has reopened “nearly all” of its stores as restrictions have eased nationwide. On the other hand, the Union-based home products chain said it will be closing about 200 of its locations over the next two years as it tries to alleviate financial pressures.

That was the news from the company’s fiscal first quarter report, when it said net sales fell 49% from the year-ago period, as the quarter spanned the COVID-wracked months of March, April and May.

“The impact of the COVID-19 situation was felt across our business during our fiscal first quarter, including loss of sales due to temporary store closures and margin pressure from the substantial channel shift to digital,” CEO and President Mark Tritton said in a prepared statement.

The company noted in its report that, “The COVID-19 pandemic remains volatile and the impact continues to evolve, and it could adversely affect the company’s store reopening plans and other measures intended to address its impact and/or the current expectations of its future business performance.”

“With nearly all stores now open, we are delighted to welcome back our customers and drive an enhanced ‘omni-always’ shopping experience,” Tritton said. “We are encouraged by early customer response.”

However, the company said it intends to continue a restructuring program as part of its business transformation. That will include efforts to reduce costs and transform the supply chain.

However, it also includes a plan to “right-size its real estate portfolio,” the company said, including the store closures and other general expense reductions.