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AFTER Bed Bath & Beyond announced plans to close 200 of its namesake stores over the next two years, customers might wonder whether the closest store is closing and about the future of the ever-popular coupons.
The New Jersey-based home goods retailer has not shared the list of locations, which represent about 21 per cent of the company’s 955 Bed Bath stores facing permanent closure in the coming months and years.
"Our immediate goal is to right-size our store network in such a way that reduces redundant stores and supports a digital-first platform, with the appropriate number of stores in the right locations," said John Hartmann, chief operating officer, during the company’s quarterly earnings call with analysts Wednesday.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. also owns and operates buybuy Baby, Harmon Face Values, World Market and Christmas Tree Shops. Officials said the 200 closures would "mostly" be Bed Bath & Beyond stores.
Regarding the 20 per cent off store coupons you’ve been hoarding for years, yes, you can still use them — for now.
However, at the stores slated to close, coupon usage is expected to be halted once liquidation sales begin, a common practice at going-out-of-business sales.
For the stores that will stay open, the discounts might be changing but aren’t expected to go away, officials said.
"I think it’s fair to say that the coupon is absolutely part of our DNA, and we want to use it more strategically and more surgically going forward," chief executive officer Mark Tritton said during the call. "It will not disappear; it is part of who we are."
Tritton said there’s normally a lower rate of redemption of coupons online versus in stores. He also said that as stores have reopened after temporary COVID-19 closures, the company has pulled back on promotions and the coupon and is "seeing very good business as a result."
That’s unknown (or at least not being shared publicly) at this time. Bed Bath & Beyond officials said in a statement that they "aren’t able to share a list of locations at this stage."
Officials said the closings would take place over the next two years.
"We will both lean into store closures and leverage a significant number of lease expirations, coming due over the next several years, to restructure our Bed Bath & Beyond store portfolio," Hartmann said.
It’s not your imagination. You are getting fewer mailed coupons. The company adjusted marketing plans and minimized or cancelled "print programs, brand campaigns and events that were focused on driving in-store only traffic," said Joe Hartsig, the company’s chief merchandising officer and an executive vice-president.
When liquidation sales begin at closing stores, it is likely that coupons will stop being accepted at those locations. Future changes are expected with coupons, officials said. In recent years, more exclusions have been added.
The company launched "dynamic pricing late last year," said Hartsig, who also is president of the Harmon store concept.
"I think you’ve seen some more competitive price gaps to market over the last six months, which is something we wanted to affect."
Possibly. The BEYOND+ membership program costs $29 a year and offers members 20 per cent off their entire purchase and free shipping. Some exclusions apply.
"We are studying new ways to again evolve our loyalty programs, because we think that there’s new ways and more important ways to retain our customers," Hartsig said.
The company, previously known for having one of the most lenient return policies, has updated its policy several times in recent years. One of the biggest overhauls was in 2015, when returns without receipts had 20 per cent deducted, and previously a time frame was not listed for most returns.
In 2018, the policy changed to one year on most items, and that changed again earlier this year to 180 days. Also currently, a receipt or item lookup using a credit card is required in most instances.
At closing stores, sales are usually "all sales final" and returns aren’t accepted.
Updated on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 10:07 AM CDT: Adds photo
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