Bed Bath & Beyond's new CEO just blew up his executive circle — in the midst of the holiday season

Key Points
  • Bed Bath & Beyond's new CEO Mark Tritton is trying to turn an embattled retailer around.
  • His first move is cleaning house by ousting six senior executives.
  • Tritton is known for having a highly successful run at Target.
Shoppers exit a Bed Bath & Beyond store in New York.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bed Bath & Beyond's new CEO just ousted six senior executives — in the midst of the holiday shopping season — as he tries to turn the embattled retailer around.

The ousters, announced Tuesday, mark CEO Mark Tritton's first major maneuver since joining Bed Bath & Beyond on Nov. 4 from Target.

Bed Bath & Beyond shares surged more than 11% after Tritton's clean sweep was announced.

The departures at Bed Bath & Beyond this week include the company's chief merchandising officer, marketing officer, digital officer, its general counsel and chief administrative officer. The company's chief brand officer resigned last week.

"This is the first in a number of important steps we're taking," the CEO said in a statement. "Balancing our existing expertise with fresh perspectives from new, innovative leaders of change, will help us to better anticipate and support our customers in their life journeys and shopping needs."

Just a few weeks into the new gig, Tritton is showing he is wasting no time. He was unhappy with what he saw when he arrived at Bed Bath & Beyond, and he is keen to make changes.

Tritton also knew changes were going to be needed. Bed Bath & Beyond has seen a three-year decline in same-store sales, while its sales growth has fallen for three consecutive quarters. Net income has dropped for 10 straight quarters.

The company, which also owns buybuy Baby and World Market, has more than 1,500 stores across the U.S., at a time when more consumers are turning to the internet to buy things. Bed Bath & Beyond has to compete with Amazon, which offers most of the same merchandise, if not more, online.

Celebrity CEOs don't guarantee profits
Celebrity CEOs don't guarantee profits

But some analysts have said that, if anyone can fix Bed Bath & Beyond's challenges, it might just be Tritton.

Having previously served as chief merchandising officer at Target, Tritton has been credited for getting Target back to its "cheap chic" roots and impressive sales gains. In his role, he oversaw Target's private-label business and launched numerous new brands during his tenure, some of which have grown to do more than $1 billion in sales.

Tritton also has worked at Nordstrom, Timberland and Nike.

Tritton's rapid moves at Bed Bath & Beyond point "to decisive and bold actions to execute a turnaround," Telsey Advisory Group analyst Cristina Fernandez said.

Tritton will likely, among other things, grow Bed Bath & Beyond's private labels and exclusive brands, make shopping in stores more appealing to customers by executing on upgrades like self checkout kiosks, and bolster the retailer's delivery capabilities, she said.

The retailer's stock has climbed more than 48% this year, with investors betting a turnaround will take hold. Bed Bath & Beyond is valued at about $2.1 billion.

—AP contributed to this report.

Why Bed Bath & Beyond is facing extinction
Why Bed Bath & Beyond is facing extinction