Bed Bath & Beyond's famous coupons are backfiring

Bed Bath & Beyond is famous for dispensing coupons for 20% off almost any one item.

But while that strategy was successful for getting shoppers in stores for a time, it has now backfired, reports Sarah Halzack at The Washington Post.

“Shopping with a coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond has begun to feel like a given instead of like a special treat, and that’s bad news for the chain’s bottom line,” Halzack writes.

Bed Bath & Beyond’s profit declined 10% in the most recent quarter, with executives blaming expenses related to coupons.

Now that consumers have come to expect coupons, the brand feels forced to issue them.

The necessity of being careful with discounts is a lesson brands like Coach and Michael Kors know all too well.

Companies like Ralph Lauren, Coach, and Michael Kors have reported disappointing earnings recently. Shares for all three companies have declined in the past year.

Many of the companies’ struggles can be traced back to one mistake: opening too many outlet stores.

Outlet stores sell the labels’ clothing for cheaper than department stores, giving the brands a wider audience.

All companies have several brands at different price points, a strategy that could easily backfire, industry expert Robin Lewis writes on his blog. Kors has a high-end department-store brand, a middle-market brand, and a brand for discount outlet stores.

“Some would argue all of those segments will simply end up competing with each other, thus cannibalising the top end of the spectrum,” he writes.

In other words, consumers will not pay $US300 for a Michael Kors or Coach bag in a department store when they can get one at the outlet mall for half the price.

The same logic applies to Bed Bath & Beyond. Consumers will likely hold off on buying new vacuums or sheets until they get the 20% off coupon.

Bed Bath & Beyond says it plans to draw in more customers through marketing.

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