As a lover of brick-and-mortar shopping, I was heartbroken to hear the news that Bed Bath & Beyond has filed for bankruptcy and will be closing all 360 of its stores, including 120 Buy Buy BABY stores. It seems like every day we hear about another beloved retailer closing its doors, and it’s a devastating blow to those of us who prefer to do our shopping in person.
I’m not alone in my grief – many Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers in New York City are flocking to the Chelsea outpost to stock up on merchandise before the store closes for good. Steven Bonamassa, a regular shopper at the store and a creative director who lives in Chelsea expressed his sadness at the loss of the once-popular retailer. “It’s really a shame because … where are you supposed to find your bedding? Where are you supposed to find all these things? What are children of our next generation going to do? Like it’s Amazon. That’s it,” he said.
John Bloomfield, a private piano instructor, rushed to the Chelsea store after his gift card failed to work online. “I’ve got a gift card from a student and I thought because they filed for bankruptcy, I’d better use it,” he said.
It’s clear that Bed Bath & Beyond holds a special place in the hearts of many Americans, especially those who have used the store for their wedding registries and to plan for new babies. But the company’s merchandising strategy, which focused on selling more store-branded products, didn’t resonate with shoppers in recent years. Last year, the company tried to abandon that strategy and bring in more national brands, but it was too little too late, as sales plunged 33% for the quarter ending Nov. 26 and the company reported a loss of about $393 million.
It’s becoming harder for brick-and-mortar stores to compete. But for those of us who love the experience of shopping in person, the loss of stores like Bed Bath & Beyond is a real blow. If you’re a Bed Bath & Beyond shopper, be sure to take advantage of the remaining 20%-off coupons available through Tuesday.