The Wall Street Journal: Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen takes big stake in Bed Bath & Beyond, urges changes

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Ryan Cohen, the billionaire co-founder of online pet-products retailer Chewy Inc.
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  has a big stake in Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.
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 and is pushing the housewares retailer to streamline its strategy and explore strategic alternatives.

Cohen, who also serves as chairman of videogame retailer GameStop Corp.
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owns a 9.8% stake in Bed Bath & Beyond through his investment firm, RC Ventures LLC, according to a copy of a letter sent to its board Sunday that was viewed by The Wall Street Journal. That makes him a top-five shareholder in the New Jersey-based chain, which has a market value of roughly $1.6 billion.

Bed Bath & Beyond has hundreds of physical stores around the country and operates the Buybuy Baby and Harmon retail chains. While its shares initially received a boost from the pandemic, they have fallen over the past year and closed Friday at $16.18, not far from where they were three years ago.

The chain has a turnaround plan that includes reducing the number of products in its stores and launching new private-label brands. But this plan left it vulnerable to supply-chain issues roiling the retail industry and caused it to cede more sales to rivals such as Amazon.com Inc.
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 and Target Corp.
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 Some analysts who initially backed Chief Executive Mark Tritton’s plan are now questioning its viability.

Cohen says in the letter that Bed Bath & Beyond’s strategy is failing to stem sustained market share losses, noting that core sales dropped 14% from a year ago in the most recent quarter.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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