Bed Bath & Beyond is laying off workers as the company weathers an activist-investor attack

Getty/Kevork DjansezianBed Bath & Beyond reportedly laid off workers this week.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond is laying off workers.
  • Sources familiar with the matter told CNBC that about 50 workers in Bed Bath & Beyond’s field-support team lost their jobs, as did about 100 department and store managers from its bargain Christmas Tree Shops.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond confirmed the cuts but declined to comment on exactly how many workers lost their jobs.
  • The retailer has come under pressure in recent years as sales have slid, and it has been accused of failing to adapt to the changing retail environment and compete with online sellers.

Bed Bath & Beyond laid off 150 employees this week, CNBC reported Thursday.

Anonymous sources familiar with the matter told CNBC that about 50 workers at namesake Bed Bath & Beyond stores lost their jobs this week. These employees were largely in the field-support team, which helps staff stores, CNBC reported.

About 100 department and store managers were also reportedly let go from the company’s Christmas Tree Shops. These are bargain stores that sell home decor, furniture, food, and Christmas decorations.

Bed Bath & Beyond confirmed that job cuts were made but declined to comment on how many there were.

“We have been, and continue to make significant investments to enhance our omnichannel capabilities, and our stores remain a critical part of our future growth strategy. However, with the ongoing shift in consumer purchasing behaviour to online, we initiated a realignment of our field support structure,” a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider.

They continued: “Through this process, we were able to reassign many of those impacted by this realignment to other available store and corporate roles, but ultimately we had to reduce our headcount. This decision was a difficult but necessary step, and we are committed to treating all associates across the organisation fairly and with respect.”

The retailer, which employed about 65,000 people at the beginning of its 2018 fiscal year, has come under pressure as sales have slid in recent years, and it has been accused of failing to adapt to the changing retail environment and compete with online sellers. Its stores, known to be crammed with inventory, have also been heavily criticised by analysts as “messy.”

Read more:
Bed Bath & Beyond’s stores have been called ‘a mess,’ but the chain might be starting to turn that around

On Tuesday, a group of activist investors with a combined 5% stake in the business called for a shake-up of the company and the replacing of CEO Steven Temares and the company’s entire board of directors.

Bed Bath & Beyond released a statement in response.

“Bed Bath & Beyond is undertaking a comprehensive transformation to evolve the foundational structure of the business, drive shareholder value, and best position the company for long-term success,” it said. “While the activist group has not provided any specific recommendations despite the company’s repeated requests, we note that many of the areas highlighted by the activist group in its press release are already being addressed at a detailed level by the company. We look forward to receiving and reviewing any specific suggestions and recommendations the activist group may have.”

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