April 26, 2019 / 2:13 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 2-Activist investors pile on pressure for removal of Bed Bath & Beyond CEO

(Adds company response)

April 26 (Reuters) - A group of activist investors on Friday again urged Bed Bath & Beyond to replace Chief Executive Officer Steven Temares and laid out a plan including cost cuts and better inventory management to improve the retailer's profitability.

The investor group, comprising Legion Partners Asset Management LLC, Macellum Advisors GP LLC and Ancora Advisors LLC, also said the recent company management shake-up appeared hastily constructed, with new directors lacking the experience to turn around Bed Bath & Beyond's fortunes.

The company on Monday appointed five new independent members to its board, replacing some directors including co-founders Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein.

Bed Bath & Beyond said on Friday it had offered the group the opportunity to participate in the selection of the new board, but the activists declined.

The investor group said its plan, which includes reassessing the household-goods chain's expenses including its advertising budget, could drive annual earnings of $5 per share. The company reported a profit of $2.05 per share last year.

Bed Bath & Beyond has struggled to keep pace with changing consumer tastes and shopping habits over the years, even after introducing experimental store formats, investing in its decorative furnishing business and digital platforms.

In its latest results, the retailer forecast dismal first-quarter profits that raised doubts on the efficacy of its turnaround plan.

Bed Bath & Beyond said it was reviewing the group's plan for opportunities to incorporate it in the company's strategy.

However, an initial review showed that most of the operational areas targeted for improvement include actions that are already part of Bed Bath & Beyond's current transformation plan, the company said.

The group of investors, who collectively own a stake of about 5 percent in the company, first called for Temares' ouster and the replacement of the entire board in March.

"CEO Steven Temares must be immediately replaced to avoid further destruction of shareholder value," the group said in a statement on Friday. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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