Placer Bytes: Bed Bath & Beyond’s Strong Q4, JCPenney Misses Payment

Better than Expected for Bed Bath & Beyond 

Earlier this year, Bed Bath & Beyond landed on our list as a brand to watch in 2020, and despite nationwide store closures and an unknown 2020 outlook, the retailer recently posted better than expected Q4 results. The brand is certainly outperforming, but will the positive outlook continue as uncertainty looms over the brick and mortar industry?   

When we look at year-over-year Q4 traffic for the retailer from 2018 to 2019, we see an interesting pattern appear. Q4 visit growth for the brand actually declined by 12.3%.  Also, when we compare the baseline average for the week of December 17, 2018, we see visits spike to an impressive 138% above the baseline average, compared to 2019 when visits were only 86.8% above the baseline. 

Yet, even with declining in-store traffic, Bed Bath & Beyond was able to outperform and beat analyst expectations. The retailer has clearly taken steps to optimize and focus on better maximizing each visit, which will certainly come in handy during the pandemic and after. And, Bed Bath & Beyond seems to be confident in its strategy as it shifts “non-essential” budget to initiatives that will be able to sustain its business for the coming months. 

Still feeling good about our earlier prediction.

JCPenney Misses Payment 

Already struggling JCPenney has continued to face obstacles throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as the retailer recently missed a  $12 million debt payment, although a spokesperson for the brand said it’s taking advantage of its 30-day grace period to weigh its option before moving forward. 

JCPenney has not been able to escape the effects of the retail apocalypse and was forced to close multiple stores in 2019. And expectedly, the closing of stores led to lower foot traffic for the brand over the last year.  Yet, despite the closures, the brand still saw 0.4% year-over-year growth from 2018 to 2019. And, prior to the pandemic hitting, JCPenney actually saw 1.3% average increase for the months of January and February from 2019 to 2020. While these numbers are not exactly inspiring, they do suggest that the brand still has a cache among its audience.

These numbers also provide an interesting perspective on the current situation. While JCPenney is clearly in a difficult spot, there were signs that a turnaround was en route and that the closures could help the brand optimize its retail footprint. However, the crisis throws new questions into the mix. The biggest being whether that positive momentum will be enough in the face of coronavirus and the impending economic downturn. 

Will Bed Bath & Beyond continue to outperform? Can JC Penney weather the storm?  

Check back in with the blog for all the latest updates. 

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