In: Business and Management

Submitted By Tekening
Words 14554
Pages 59
Harvard Business School

Rev. May 10, 2000

Bed Bath & Beyond
Strange as it may seem, there’s something romantic about housewares. Visit the giant Bed Bath & Beyond store in Manhattan on a busy Saturday and you’ll see all kinds of couples kissing and cooing as they discuss what size sofa pillows to buy or whether a certain set of burgundy towels will match their bath mats. It’s just one more bit of evidence that America has been in a cocooning mood the past few years. And few people have benefited more from this nest-building trend than Leonard Feinstein and Warren Eisenberg, who founded Bed Bath & Beyond in Springfield, N.J., back in 1971. After 14 fairly sluggish years in the business, the duo in 1985 started experimenting with large stores, running to 20,000 square feet and stacked to the ceiling with towels, curtains, bedspreads and housewares. Feinstein and Eisenberg haven’t looked back since. This year, with 49 of these superstores in operation, Bed Bath & Beyond is expected to ring up sales of $415 million, an increase of 35% from last year’s $306 million take. Earnings are expected to grow to $28 million, or 82 cents per share, from $21.9 million, or 64 cents last year. But questions are starting to be raised about how long Bed Bath & Beyond can keep up its heady growth. Some smart investors have been selling the company’s high-flying shares, and these sellers include Feinstein and Eisenberg themselves. Rising interest rates have been slowing housing starts and, one imagines, the demand for housewares, too. On top of all that, competition is looming from the likes of Melville Corporation’s Linens ‘n Things and a host of feisty upstarts. The stock market, however, shows little, if any, skepticism. It seems to be assuming that the company’s growth will continue at the current clip, and that’s a big assumption. Since Bed Bath & Beyond went public…...

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