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Bed Bath & Beyond CEO on retail investors

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Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Mark Tritton sat down with Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi to discuss the recent fluctuations in BBBY stock pricing, and what a new wave of retail investors means for the company.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: Bed, Bath and Beyond is in the middle of a big turnaround plan headed by its new CEO, Mark Tritton. With retailers just reopening after COVID, it looks like the plan is working, with same store sales starting to climb pretty steadily. Spoke to Tritton inside his newly remodeled New York City store about how he's thinking about his new army of retail investors. Take a listen.

MARK TRITTON: You know, I think you guys were try to challenge me on like how does that challenge your thinking or the way you act. And I'm going to say the same thing to you today. That's interesting, but we focus on the sequential growth of our business and the fundamentals that can resonate with investors, as well as customers. And we're delivering those quarter by quarter. We feel strong about that. We're at the beginning of our journey. And the to-ing and fro-ing in between what we think is noise compared to the overall trajectory of our brand, our company, and our stock price. And so we're doing the right things and we won't be distracted by those small moments.

BRIAN SOZZI: Were you checking the stock price on the Yahoo Finance app?

MARK TRITTON: Yeah, you were telling me in real time.

[LAUGHS]

Look, we watch it. And we always want things to be steady and understandable. And so we watch that. We say, OK, we know we were in a moment in time. It dissipates very quickly for us compared to some of the other stocks. We get back to doing what we do. We don't spend our days watching that graph. We watch, like, is the remodel plan on track? Are we making our sales? Are we getting the goods to the customers on time in full?

BRIAN SOZZI: Do you, and lastly, do you feel or do you feel a different responsibility knowing you have all these new retail investors? The institutions, they're always going to be there, but now you have mom and pop investing in your turnaround. How does it make you feel?

MARK TRITTON: I think no different. It's an immense responsibility that we take really, really strongly and feel really both respectful of the process and our responsibility to investors. Every decision we make is for our investors and our customers. And so we take that very seriously. And whether you've put $10 or $10 million in, our goal is to make you a happy investor now and over time. And that remains the same.

BRIAN SOZZI: So of course, guys, had to get the Yahoo Finance app plug in there too as well.

MYLES UDLAND: Company man, company man.

BRIAN SOZZI: With good reason. Let's keep in mind, Tritton came on our 11 to 1 show on one day when the retail army was absolutely taking over the stock. As he was speaking to us in real time, the shares were up close to 40%. Now he has been consistent saying, hey, they have not raised any capital, they remain focused on the long term. But he has a good story to tell these retail investors. We were sitting inside his newly remodeled New York City store, close to 100,000 square feet. A completely different looking store for Bed, Bath and Beyond really compared to anything else they have open across the country.

MYLES UDLAND: Well, you know, we've talked a lot about what makes a meme. And a theme that we keep coming back to is that it needs to be a brand; not needs to. It helps if it's a brand people understand. People understand Bed Bath.

JULIE HYMAN: Sure.

MYLES UDLAND: People get it.

JULIE HYMAN: Sure.

MYLES UDLAND: It's kind of like a GameStop for towels.

JULIE HYMAN: Sure. Oh, interesting. I like it. Well--

MYLES UDLAND: I don't know.

JULIE HYMAN: I mean.

MYLES UDLAND: Well.

JULIE HYMAN: And probably unlike GameStop, there actually is meaningful upside from remodeling the stores and making them nicer places to be. I, for one, I mean, Bed Bath is, they sell stuff that people need, right?

MYLES UDLAND: I think it was a $5 stock when he took over maybe?

BRIAN SOZZI: It was, I mean, run by really horrific entrenched management. He has come in over the past two years, really added seven or eight new people on his management team, overhauled the company from top to bottom. So it'll be interesting to see where they go from here. And to your point, Myles, yeah, one theme in these meme stocks are, can the company turn around? I'm looking at Express right here. Again, I'll keep mentioning this. Tim Baxter just came out with this, said the company is turning around, likely having a good third quarter. Shares are up 17% here

JULIE HYMAN: We've also talked about the different approaches that management have taken to becoming a meme or to getting this retail interest. And there's sort of three buckets. One, you can confront it hard, head on, welcome it, sell shares to the public, take advantage of it and court these investors. Two, you can acknowledge it but not, and I think Tritton falls into this category. He's sort of friendly to it.

MYLES UDLAND: Safe distance.

JULIE HYMAN: He hasn't done anything directly in response. And then there's just complete denial, right? I don't want to have anything to do with it, I don't want to say anything about it, I want to pretend it's not happening.

BRIAN SOZZI: Because he hasn't had to do it. They have had close to a billion dollars on the balance sheet, so he doesn't need cash. Express, I would argue, could use that cash.

JULIE HYMAN: Right. Well, as he said, they have that at the money offering or the shelf offering that they could deploy. The Express CEO talked about that in your discussion.