Ryan Cohen, the billionaire co-founder of online pet-products retailer Chewy Inc.
has a big stake in Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.
and is pushing the housewares retailer to streamline its strategy and explore strategic alternatives.
Cohen, who also serves as chairman of videogame retailer GameStop Corp.
owns a 9.8% stake in Bed Bath & Beyond through his investment firm, RC Ventures LLC, according to a copy of a letter sent to its board Sunday that was viewed by The Wall Street Journal. That makes him a top-five shareholder in the New Jersey-based chain, which has a market value of roughly $1.6 billion.
Bed Bath & Beyond has hundreds of physical stores around the country and operates the Buybuy Baby and Harmon retail chains. While its shares initially received a boost from the pandemic, they have fallen over the past year and closed Friday at $16.18, not far from where they were three years ago.
The chain has a turnaround plan that includes reducing the number of products in its stores and launching new private-label brands. But this plan left it vulnerable to supply-chain issues roiling the retail industry and caused it to cede more sales to rivals such as Amazon.com Inc.
and Target Corp.
Some analysts who initially backed Chief Executive Mark Tritton’s plan are now questioning its viability.
Cohen says in the letter that Bed Bath & Beyond’s strategy is failing to stem sustained market share losses, noting that core sales dropped 14% from a year ago in the most recent quarter.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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