Bed Bath & Beyond loses almost a quarter of its value as it struggles to grow sales 

  • Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond have lost a fifth of their value in trading Thursday.
  • Second-quarter sales were flat at $2.94 billion, less than expected $2.96 billion.
  • Same-store sales were down 0.6 percent, rather than growing 0.3 percent, as expected.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond lost almost a quarter of their value in morning trading Thursday, as the company's performance continues to deteriorate.

Bed Bath & Beyond, like many of its competitors, has struggled to protect its profit margin amid costly investments in e-commerce. Meantime, it has struggled to keep up its in-store experience and distinguish itself from the many retailers that offer similar goods such as Target, Walmart and HomeGoods.

Thursday marked the retailer's worst day ever trading, after having already seen its shares drop nearly 34 percent year to date.

Late Wednesday, the company reported earnings that fell short of estimates. The home goods retailer said fiscal second-quarter earnings dropped to $48.6 million, or 36 cents a share, from $94.2 million, or 67 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected Bath Bath & Beyond to earn 50 cents a share.

Sales were flat at $2.94 billion, less than the expected $2.96 billion.

Same-store sales declined for the sixth straight quarter, dropping 0.6 percent, rather than growing 0.3 percent, as expected.

"These poor numbers ... need to be set against the context of a robust consumer economy where spending on homewares and home-related products has been strong. Framed in this way, the numbers are little short of terrible and underscore the myriad of missteps Bed Bath & Beyond is making," said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, in a research note.

On Wednesday, the company said it remains on track to achieve "moderating declines" in operating profit and net earnings per share in fiscal 2018 and 2019 and earnings per share growth by 2020.

It also has some good news, with the company telling analysts Wednesday evening that the boost to its sales from Toys R Us' liquidation was "in line" with its internal expectations. Its decorative furnishing sales growth, meantime, is exceeding internal expectations.

Judging by Thursday's sell-off, however, investors remain cautious.

"Understandably, Bed Bath & Beyond reduced its fiscal 2018 sales/EPS outlook, which the Street likely viewed as aspirational," said Zachary Fadem of Wells Fargo.

"With the benefits of Toys "R" Us closures, a strong consumer environment and a host of ambitious company initiatives failing to materialize in our view thus far, we remain bearish on 2018, and see further downside risk ahead."