On Thursday morning, Bed Bath & Beyond will officially swing open the doors of its newly remodeled flagship location in New York City.
For nearly three decades, the roughly 92,000-square-foot location on 6th Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood sat mostly untouched. Fixtures became dated. Merchandise was piled higher and higher to the ceiling. Signage was dark, and the lower level felt akin to a dungeon, Chief Executive Mark Tritton remarked during a media tour of the shop this week.
The remodeled space looks nothing like it did before. Come Thursday morning, shoppers will be greeted by open windows next to a cafe area, a first-of-its-kind SodaStream bar, wider aisles, less merchandise, new brands — including an array of Bed Bath & Beyond's own — and bright, modern branding.
It's one of the first of 450 Bed Bath & Beyond locations that will receive a makeover in the next three years. A key part of Tritton's turnaround strategy is investing roughly $250 million in the refreshes to win new customers and keep existing ones coming back for more.
The Chelsea location now features a sprawling health-and-wellness area, which the retailer says drives frequent visits to its stores and helps to build bigger and more profitable baskets.
"This is truly emblematic of the remodels we'll be doing across the next three years," Tritton said. "But there'll be nothing quite like this Chelsea store."
The Chelsea location also offers a space for Bed Bath & Beyond's private-label brands to shine. This is core to Tritton's turnaround scheme. He's taking a page from the playbook at big-box rival Target, where he previously served as chief merchant and helped to develop a number of successful in-house brands from scratch.
Bed Bath & Beyond is planning to roll out at least eight in-house brands in fiscal 2021, and more than 10 over the next three years. Some that have launched in recent months include a line for storage containers called Squared Away; a bath brand known as Haven; and a line of home goods under the Bee & Willow moniker.
According to Joe Hartsig, chief merchandising officer at Bed Bath & Beyond, the company culled back on merchandise in certain categories, like travel, that hadn't been selling as well in the past in this Chelsea location, in order to make room for more bedding and bath merchandise.
Cutting back on stocked inventory also gave Bed Bath & Beyond a chance to declutter and organize inventory by brand, by price point, and sometimes by color, he said.
"We know it's hard to shop at our stores," Hartsig said during the store tour with Tritton. "So we've really tried to make it easier to navigate the aisles ... the wider aisles are very clean. The presentation is very tight."
Customers in this store will also be able to use a new scan-and-buy feature that was recently launched in Bed Bath & Beyond's mobile app, whereby shoppers can bypass the checkout line and pay in store from their phones.
Here's a first look inside.