Bed Bath & Beyond names new agency, taps retail vets from Target and Macy's
It’s not just a new year for Bed Bath & Beyond. As it attempts a turnaround, the retailer has a new lead agency, a new PR agency and new brand and marketing executives.
On Tuesday, the Union, N.J.-based retailer announced it has tapped MUH-TAY-ZIK / HOF-FER as lead brand agency, following a review. The chain, which operates 951 namesake stores, will work with M Booth on corporate and consumer PR, and We Are Social on social media for its brand Buy Buy Baby.
The retailer also said it has hired Kristi Argyilan as senior VP, brand innovation. A longtime Target executive, Argyilan most recently led the its media business Roundel as president. As a data-led marketer, she is expected to focus on customer insights and Bed Bath & Beyond’s loyalty program.
Bed Bath & Beyond has also tapped another retail rival’s marketing executive with the appointment of Jim Reath as senior VP of marketing. Formerly a senior marketer at Macy’s, Reath is responsible for marketing strategy for Bed Bath & Beyond, Buy Buy Baby and Harmon Health and Beauty Stores, as well as the retailer’s new private-label brands launching this spring.
Both new marketing executives will report to Cindy Davis, who joined last year from L Brands to overhaul the struggling Bed Bath & Beyond’s image. The retailer has been building up its stable of in-house brands as it strives to compete with the likes of Target, which has focused on its own store brands as a way of improving margins and better connecting with customers. Mark Tritton, Bed Bath & Beyond’s CEO and president, is a former Target executive credited with helping to grow the Minneapolis-based retail giant’s list of private-label brands.
“Our portfolio of brands is uniquely positioned to serve customers across the magic moments in their lives, and we will deepen our connection by taking a customer-inspired approach to build on our authority in the home, baby, beauty and wellness markets,” said Davis in a statement. “Kristi and Jim bring deep expertise building brands, businesses and long-lasting customer relationships across the retail and consumer goods sectors, experience that will help us innovate and inspire our customers to unlock the magic in every room.”
A Bed Bath & Beyond spokeswoman did not respond to a request for more details about the brand’s agency review, which began last year. In early 2020, the retailer ran a marketing campaign focused on sleep; it worked with Evolution Bureau on that push, though it is unclear if the agency competed for the lead agency post.
As it tries to reverse losses, Bed Bath & Beyond is seeing some signs of a turnaround. Last week, the chain reported a same-store sales increase of 2% for the most recent quarter. It also generated net sales of $2.6 billion, a 5% decline from the year-earlier period, but a drop that the company credited to issues including the sale of its Cost Plus World Market brand.
Yet analysts caution that the retailer is also currently riding the tide of consumer demand for home products, a wave that could peter out post-COVID.
“We think a lot of the current performance is reliant on a frothier market rather than being driven by underlying changes that the group has made on the ground,” wrote Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, in a recent research report following the chain’s earnings release. “This means that once the music of elevated homewares growth stops, Bed Bath & Beyond’s performance could come crashing back down.”
However, Saunders expressed confidence in Tritton’s long-term strategy driving change, noting that “like most strategic programs, that change will take some time to produce sustainable, deep rooted results.”