Mark Tritton, Bed Bath & Beyond CEO, joins Yahoo Finance's The First Trade with Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi to discuss future outlook for the retailer including this holiday season, plans to trim its workforce and much more.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: You talked about a three year plan, and you said you want to spend between $1 and $1 and a 1/2 billion invested back into the business. Give us an idea of how you're going to spend that money.
MARK TRITTON: Yeah, look. What we inherited with the business was a space that had been underfunded for several years. So areas like supply blockchain, technology, infrastructure for stores, the way our stores looked, investing in digital, and definitely investing in product and price all needed with capital investment and time investment. And this is a comprehensive turnaround, but we have the right talent and the right plan to get there. So doubling down in those spaces, making sure that we've both mastered the fundamentals of the foundation of our house, as well as providing accelerants for growth was a really important part of the three-year plan.
BRIAN SOZZI: Mark, why are you getting rid of my coupons? I've been feasting on these for about 10 years.
MARK TRITTON: (LAUGHING) Well, I think that's a misnomer. There's no getting rid of the coupons. As I talked about yesterday, this is a strategic tool and weapon. What we did hear from our customers is getting everyday price ready. There was a perception in the past that you needed the coupon for a price to be competitive, and we've adjusted that in our top items. You come in. You compare online. You know that that's a great everyday price point. Coupon is just a bonus on top of that. So as we go into the third and fourth quarter, we have a really strong pricing policy that is going to really accelerate our growth and I think strengthen the price-value equation for our customer.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: You are investing more in your omnichannel shopping experience, things like curbside pickup and same-day delivery services, things that have really ballooned during this pandemic. Do you see that behavior among consumers lasting even post-pandemic?
MARK TRITTON: Yeah, absolutely, that we were really fortuitous that we invested deeply in digital and invested in ease and convenience as we were going into the pandemic, and that became a base plate for how our customers responded to us throughout this year. I think it's a new muscle. We're seeing every age group and demographic really rely on ease and convenience through digital, whether it's digital purchasing and having it sent to your home or whether it is truly that ease and convenience that an omnichannel retailer could bring. I can buy today. I can pick it up within two hours at the store. I can have it sent to me, or I can have it shipped from the store in my own zip code in a faster time than a lot of our digital-only competitors. This muscle is being built, and I think it's here to stay.
BRIAN SOZZI: You know, I talked to a lot of folks on the street, Mark, and there still is this sense of skepticism that Bed Bath & Beyond can turn around and return to what it was, you know, decades ago. I think that skepticism still reflects prior management, which really-- let's not pull punches here-- they really stunk. How do you turn those skeptics into believers?
MARK TRITTON: Well, we're definitely getting traction against that with our analyst partners and our investor partners. They understand now with this three-year plan our roadmap for growth and investment and how we can really return to financial strength. We're incredibly liquid. We're financially strong. But we now have the strategic plans, the investments, and the team to build this business. And I there is becoming a strong demarcation between the past, as we understand it, we diagnosed our patient, we moved forward, and the future. And I think that this investor day was that pivot point for sure.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Mark, what are you expecting come the holidays, and are there any more store closings in the near future?
MARK TRITTON: Well, we've kind of outlined-- I'll talk about the store closings first-- we've outlined that we've had probably around just over 70 stores that will close just after the holiday period as part of our closure of 200 doors. They're the stores that were either duplicating the space in each demographic or were just completely underperforming in profit. So closing those through as per the plan-- no additions at this point.
The holidays we're feeling really buoyant about. It's in a holiday is like no one-- no other make, no doubt about it. But what we believe is that without right pricing strategy that we have in place, we're in stock of the key items and we weren't last year. We have the right promotions that are meaningful at the right time, and that's more dissipated over the November period as we change out through this Black Friday moment which will be different. And we've got the right messaging and communication and digital strength, added to the additional ease and convenience of both as curbside and same-day that we didn't have last year, that bodes well for us to the fourth quarter.