Bed Bath & Beyond to scale back iconic coupon program

Theresa Braine, New York Daily News
·2 min read

Those giant, bright-blue and white Bed Bath & Beyond coupons that routinely show up in the mail and never seem to expire may soon be worth little more than the proverbial paper they’re printed on.

The home-products retailer is planning to scale back its coupon program, reported CNBC.

“Today, we have an overreliance on the coupon,” Chief Merchandising Officer Joe Hartsig said during a virtual meeting with investors on Wednesday, according to CNBC.

Having studied the baskets and purchase choices of 405 million shoppers, the company learned that 40% of its promotions seem ineffective and unnecessary, CNBC said.

Customers have surged along with the number of coronavirus cases, as people stock up or spruce up, CNBC noted. The 1.4 million new customers the retailer saw this year skewed about six years younger and were 20% less likely to use a coupon, Bed Bath & Beyond said.

It won’t happen right away, executives assured investors, and is not an elimination so much as a way to “leverage [them] as a true strength,” CEO Mark Tritton told CNBC.

The move is one of several that Bed Bath & Beyond’s new leadership is making to reposition the retailer as new spending trends come into play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This and other initial efforts are what The Wall Street Journal called the “low-hanging fruit.” That includes remodeling stores, improving supply-chain efficiency to speed up inventory turnover, and amping up technology to make online ordering easier, Bloomberg noted.

Analysts cautioned that the coupon strategy could backfire, a potential supported anecdotally by some shoppers who alleged in tweets that the store’s merchandise is overpriced and that the coupons were the only reason they shopped there.

“Financially, this is a necessary move as coupons erode margins,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told CNBC. “However, many Bed Bath & Beyond customers love coupons, so scaling them back may have an impact on shopper numbers and sales.”

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