Overstock buys intellectual property to rename Bed Bath & Beyond

Overstock buys intellectual property to rename Bed Bath & Beyond

Soon, Overstock.com will become Bed Bath & Beyond — at least in digital form.

Overstock, which last week paid $21.5 million to acquire the bankrupt retailer’s intellectual property, said Wednesday it would begin operating its website under the name Bed Bath & Beyond.

This change will go into effect in Canada in early July. Starting in August, about a month after the last Bed Bath & Beyond store closed in the United States, customers visiting Overstock.com in the country will be redirected to BedbathandBeyond.com.

Overstock’s mobile app and its rewards program will also be rebranded. Company executives plan to eventually bring back Bed Bath & Beyond’s popular wedding registry.

As Overstock absorbs the assets of bankrupt retailers into its operations, the company’s chief executive, Jonathan Johnson, said it is considering renaming its business entirely. It may settle on Bed Bath & Beyond, he said, but other names are being considered.

“I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve been asked when we’re going to change the name of Overstock,” said Mr. Johnson, who has been at the helm since 2019.

For years, Overstock.com has been trying to find a way to update its image as a liquidator, which began in 1999. The company has since moved away from simply selling furniture at basement bargain prices, but ultimately, Mr. Johnson said, its name was holding it back in the eyes of consumers.

It’s a bet that Bed Bath & Beyond’s name could help change that.

“We’ll probably have both logos for a while, but the goal is to make the change to Bed Bath & Beyond as quickly as possible,” Mr. Johnson said.

When the home goods retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April, Mr. Johnson saw an opportunity for his company. In 2018, Bed Bath & Beyond was a potential buyer, Mr Johnson said, when Patrick Byrne, the then chief executive of Overstock, was looking to sell the retail business to focus on cryptocurrency technology. That deal never happened.

The dice turned when the pandemic hit and overstock sales soared. Bankers approached the company and suggested that it should buy Bed Bath & Beyond.

On the other hand, Bed Bath & Beyond was financially affected by the pandemic. Like many retailers, it had to temporarily close its stores, and its supply chain faltered as the company tried to keep up with demand in online shopping. Sales plummeted because company executives made several mistakes in sales and marketing.

“We’ve been looking and looking, and when Bed Bath & Beyond got into some trouble last year we started thinking, ‘Hey, if this goes bankrupt, we’ll have everything we love. There may be an opportunity to buy, without having to buy what we previously held back,” Mr. Johnson said. (Overstock did not buy Bed Bath & Beyond’s store space or inventory.)

A week after bidding for Bed Bath & Beyond’s properties went public, Overstock added more than 100,000 bed and bath items to its site as sellers vied to do business with the company. This was after Overstock had spent months wooing them and making concessions such as agreeing to keep inventory in warehouses, a rare move for an online retailer. Now, Mr. Johnson said, he doesn’t think his company will have to do that to win over sellers.

The acquisition also gives Overstock a wealth of customer data. It contains information about what Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers bought online and how often they visited the website — a helpful tool as Overstock struggles with its declining sales. On Wednesday, the company said it expected its second-quarter revenue to decline 20 percent from last year.

Overstock sales peaked in 2021, when more people bought furniture during the peak of the pandemic. Its active customers have also been declining and in April it said it had 4.8 million users. Bed Bath & Beyond’s active customer list of online shoppers is twice as large.

Overstock expects the number of its customers to grow in the coming months, while the average amount shoppers spend may drop as the small appliances and home furnishings that Bed Bath & Beyond was known for, including sofas and patio tables Less expensive than what Overstock usually sells. The online retailer will also spend more on marketing to make consumers aware of its branding changes.

The deal comes as US consumers are spending less on furniture and more on dining out and travel. In the first five months of the year, sales at furniture and home furnishings stores fell about 3 percent from a year earlier, according to the Commerce Department. statisticswhich has not been adjusted for inflation.

“Opportunities like this come sometimes, and they sometimes come when times are tough,” Mr Johnson said. “Will the category still be tough in the short to medium term? I think so, but I think getting all these new customers and the rebranding helps us offset some of that headwind.”

During the integration process, Overstock plans to hire workers with marketing, sales and technology expertise. The company is attempting to recruit former Bed Bath & Beyond employees.

How about the fate of Bed Bath & Beyond’s famous 20 percent off coupon?

“We will always be a Couponer; We will always be selling the site,” Mr Johnson said. “Whether we run 20 percent as often as Bed Bath — probably not. But it will be only in the beginning.

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