Bed Bath & Beyond was once a cash cow known as a great merchant. But after hearing its earnings report Wednesday, Jim Cramer says it could be too late for the retailer to stage a comeback.
"While Bed Bath now has 500 IT professionals and it has welcomed the new digital world, I think it might be too late for them," Cramer said.
With its large span of stores around the country and excellent prices in its cosmetics business, Harmon, Bed Bath was once run by a management who understood what people wanted.
But sometimes a buyback is a terrible thing to waste, and it was clear to Cramer that Bed Bath has done just that.
Over a span of four years, the company used its cash hoard to shrink its share count to 158 million from 243 million. The market capitalization of Bed Bath also fell to $7 billion from $14 billion.
Unfortunately, Amazon gained popularity during that time and many shoppers have migrated away from brick-and-mortar retailers like Bed Bath.
"Bed Bath was a dinosaur living in the ice age of the web" and failed to keep up with Amazon's algorithmic ability to figure out what shoppers wanted faster than any flesh-and-blood merchant, Cramer said.
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Obviously, Bed Bath was not the only company impacted by Amazon. But it caused Bed Bath's same-store sales, which had almost always been on an upswing, to stagnate.
Customers ultimately began to avoid cumbersome physical stores in search of what they needed on the internet. Even Bed Bath's widely distributed $5 coupon meant nothing to them.
Cramer heard a major difference in the tone of Bed Bath on its conference call on Wednesday. It was filled with technology terms one would typically hear from a tech company like Salesforce.com.
Clearly, Bed Bath had prioritized mobile search, user interface navigational improvement and digital offerings.
But is it too late?
"They spent money on stock, not technology," Cramer said.
While its conference call was focused on omni-channel digital customer retention and every technological buzzword used these days, Cramer thinks it is too late for Bed Bath. Only time will tell.