Bed Bath & Beyond says it’s still open to selling its Buybuy Baby division

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A view of the atmosphere during the Whitney Port & Bundle Organics #MomAsYouAre buybuyBABY product launch in Torrance, California.

Randy Shropshire | Getty Images

As Bed Bath & Beyond shakes up its leadership suite and ousts its CEO, the retailer said Wednesday it remains open to another big change: A potential sale of its baby gear chain, Buybuy Baby.

“The business is a very attractive business, and we’re not alone in appreciating its value,” interim CEO Sue Gove said on a call with analysts when asked if a sale was off the table. “We know there is interest.”

For now, she said, the parent company is focused on strategies to drive sales. That includes improving the division’s website and app and attracting more shoppers to its baby registry.

The baby gear chain is part of a new loyalty program, Welcome Rewards, too. That program began rolling out earlier this month. It allows shoppers to earn and redeem points when shopping online or in stores at any of the company’s three banners: Bed Bath & Beyond, Buybuy Baby and personal care brand Harmon Face Values.

Buybuy Baby has been a focal point in a contentious battle between the home goods retailer and activist investor Ryan Cohen. In March, Cohen pointed to the baby gear banner as one of the most valuable pieces of the company, arguing it could be worth several billion dollars, and pushed for a spinoff or selloff. He later came to a truce with the company, after it agreed to add new board members and conduct a strategic review of Buybuy Baby’s future options.

Bed Bath’s stock jumped in April on a report by The Wall Street Journal that the company was fielding interest for the division. At the time, the company did not respond to requests for comment.

The baby gear retailer has been one of Bed Bath’s bright spots, particularly as customer traffic and sales have dropped at its namesake banner. In the holiday quarter, for example, same-store sales for Bed Bath & Beyond stores declined 15% — but Buybuy Baby’s same-store sales grew by low single digits.

That trend didn’t hold up in the most recent three-month period, however. Buybuy Baby’s same-store sales fell by the mid single-digits.

Harriet Edelman, who leads the board of directors as its independent chair, said Wednesday a committee of board members are working closely with strategic and financial advisors as it considers Buybuy Baby’s future.

On the call with analysts, she described Buybuy Baby as “a highly relevant banner with a strong market position and favorable demographics.”

Bed Bath & Beyond over the past two years has sold off other pieces of its business, including Christmas Tree Shops, Cost Plus World Market, PersonalizationMall.com and One Kings Lane.

Source: CNBC


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