Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. plans to unlock the doors to half of its stores across North America by June 13 and bring back thousands of employees furloughed as the retailer grappled with shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company will welcome customers back to 500 of its flagship big box sites, as well as around 50 Christmas Tree Shop stores and 50 Cost Plus World Market stores in the U.S., officials announced Friday.
"We continue to respond to the COVID-19 situation with measured, purposeful steps to help keep our people safe and our customers served," said Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Mark Tritton. "We recently launched our store safety plan and are guided by our medical team and national, state and local guidance to help ensure customers can shop with us confidently. "
Reopening the stores will allow Bed Bath & Beyond to bring 11,000 of its furloughed associates back to work. Those who participate in the company's healthcare plan but can't return yet will still have 100 percent of the cost of their premiums paid by the merchant.
Bed Bath & Beyond is also expanding its contactless curbside pickup services to approximately 1,350 stores altogether. The service giving shoppers the chance to purchase products online and pick them up in-store or curbside within two hours or less will be available at 90 percent of North American locations.
The company, which has struggled to adapt to a changing retail landscape as shoppers conduct more business digitially, reported "strong online engagement from our loyal customers" in recent weeks, with traffic to the Bed Bath & Beyond website and mobile app up 30 percent all while digital sales have doubled in the U.S.
"Customers are also responding well to the launch of buy-online-pickup-in-store and contactless curbside pickup, with these services accounting for a meaningful percentage of our Bed Bath & Beyond U.S. digital sales in the last week," Tritton said. "And we anticipate continued growth as we expand the service to more stores in the coming weeks."