January 8, 2020 / 9:55 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Bed Bath & Beyond pulls 2019 forecast, reports disappointing holiday quarter

(Adds details from conference call, compares with estimates)

Jan 8 (Reuters) - Bed Bath & Beyond Inc on Wednesday withdrew its forecast for fiscal 2019 just two months after new Chief Executive Officer Mark Tritton took charge and said it expects the current quarter to remain pressured.

The company’s shares fell as much 25% in extended trading, after the home furnishing retailer also reported a surprise third-quarter loss and lower-than-expected sales.

“These results are unsatisfactory and underscore the inherent need for change and strengthen our center priorities and purpose,” Tritton told analysts on a post-earnings call.

Tritton, a former Target Corp executive who took charge late last year, said Bed Bath & Beyond would announce a detailed plan in the coming months and noted the company’s focus on its digital initiatives to combat competition.

Bed Bath & Beyond had been under pressure from a group of activist investors last year for reporting falling sales under its previous CEO Steven Temares, forcing his departure in May.

After Temares’ departure, the company laid out a plan to boost sales through store revamps, lower costs through job cuts and reduce old inventory before the holiday season.

“We’re experiencing short-term pain, some of which has been self-inflicted,” Tritton said.

In the two months since taking charge, Tritton has already taken steps to cut costs, including letting go of six senior executives.

For the third quarter ended Nov. 30, Bed Bath & Beyond reported a loss of 38 cents, on an adjusted basis, while analysts were expecting a profit of 2 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net sales during the holiday quarter fell 9% to $2.76 billion, due to a shorted holiday season and a late Thanksgiving holiday in 2019, the company said. Analysts had expected sales of $2.85 billion.

The retailer reported a net loss of $38.6 million, compared with a profit of $24.4 million a year earlier, mainly due to an impairment charge related to certain store-level assets. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Shounak Dasgupta)

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