Overstock CEO weighs in on company transition into Bed Bath & Beyond

Jonathan Johnson, Overstock CEO
Jonathan Johnson

Salt Lake City – The Overstock brand will sunset in the fourth quarter as the company gears up its e-commerce operations under the Bed Bath & Beyond banner.

Following the online retailer’s acquisitions of BBB in late June, Overstock immediately relaunched the Bed Bath & Beyond Canada site. The U.S. Bed Bath & Beyond site – whose landing page will initially carry the Overstock identification as well – is scheduled to go live in August after Bed Bath & Beyond winds up its retail store liquidation activities in late July.

In a fast-paced 30-minute interview with sister publication Home Textiles Today, Overstock CEO Jonathan Johnson laid out the company’s plans for the coming months.

Here are 7 takeaways from the conversation.

The old BBB online business: Although Bed Bath & Beyond was relatively under-penetrated online, its total e-comm sales in 2022 hit $1 billion, according to Johnson.

Heralding the new BBB: Overstock plans to begin promoting the U.S. site relaunch heavily next month – targeting both Bed Bath and Overstock customers. The company is currently porting over Bed Bath’s massive customer file.

Corporate identify: Overstock plans to convert its company name to Bed Bath & Beyond once the integration of operations is complete. The new Bed Bath & Beyond e-commerce retail company will not use the old BBBY stock ticker because it has become “tainted” among the investor community.

The potential for a flagship stores concept: That is not in the cards. Johnson described flagships – such as the handful of stores rival Wayfair has opened since 2022 – as “a shiny object to show to investors.” He believes the promise of the “endless aisle” offered by an e-commerce brand is difficult to fulfill within the confines of a brick & mortar store.

Partnership with a brick & mortar retailer: The idea has possibilities. Johnson pointed to Kohl’s alliance with Amazon, which operates Amazon Returns kiosks at all of Kohl’s more than 1,100 stores. “We would have to have the right partner,” he said.

Outlook for BTC 2023: The Back-to-College season was traditionally a big tentpole event for Bed Bath & Beyond, but the BBB acquisition took place too late for Overstock to merchandise into the season. “I think we’ll miss it this year just because of the timing,” said Johnson.

Outlook for Holiday 2023: Here is where Overstock hopes to get its first big lift from the Bed Bath & Beyond rebrand. Comparing Bed Bath & Beyond’s online holiday traffic to Overstock’s, “Christmas starts earlier [for Bed Bath], lasts longer and spikes higher than at Overstock,” he said.

Even though the company anticipates a better-than-usual Q4 under the Bed Bath & Beyond brand, Johnson still expects the back half of the year to be a tough one for the retail industry in general.

In addition to more cautious consumer spending on discretionary goods, he noted that that there’s still a lot of inventory backlog in the home furnishings space – especially in the furniture sector.

“The longer it takes to blow that through, the longer it will take to return to producing new goods,” he said.

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