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Jennifer Marks

Bed Bath & Beyond expanding andThat

Could eventually replace Christmas Tree Shops name

Union, NJ – Bed Bath & Beyond’s fourth quarter results were in line with Wall Street expectations, although its first quarter outlook disappointed. While company execs updated progress on its push toward omnichannel retailing, the true eye-opener was a mention of the “andThat!” nameplate that may be poised to eventually replace the Christmas Tree Shops designation.

Last fall, BBB opened andThat stores in Flint, Mich. and Fredericksburg, Va. – thought to be a move to de-emphasize the limited holiday focus of the seasonally-oriented Christmas Tree Shops name.

The surprise during this evening’s fourth quarter conference call: BBB said there are now 77 stores operating under the names of Christmas Tree Shops, Christmas Trees Shops andThat or andThat – the first sign that an unknown number of CTS stores have already been dually branded.

As is BBB’s way, no details were offered.

In terms of its omnichannel effort, ceo Steve Temares said the company will continue to add new functionality and assortments to its e-commerce sites as well as mobile and apps. In addition, BBB will open a new distribution center to handle both direct-to-customer shipments as well as deliveries to stores. (The location was not identified.) The company will also invest in “more robust” point-of-sale systems to support ominichannel.

“We believe we are well-positioned to thrive in an omnichannel environment,” he said.

For the further quarter ended March 1, net earnings tumbled 11% to $333.3 million, or $1.60 per share. Sales fell 5.8% to $3.2 billion during the 13-week period compared to sales of $3.4 billion during the 14-week period a year ago. Same-store sales increased 1.7% on top of a 2.5% gain in last-year’s 4Q when calculated on an equivalent number of weeks for each quarter.

Fiscal year net earnings slipped 1.5% to $1.022 billion. Earnings per share of $4.79 per share exceeded last year’s EPS of $4.56. Sales were up 5.4% to $11.5 billion for the 52-week period compared to the 53-week period last year. Comps increased 2.4% on top of a 2.7% gain last year when calculated on an equivalent number of weeks for each annual period.

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