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Moody's May Downgrade Bed, Bath Bonds

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Published: June 22nd, 2020
The rating agency said Bed Bath's transformation is taking longer than expected because others stole a jump on the company when evolving in an increasingly fast-changing retail landscape.

Some of the same operational weaknesses that might have helped draw a trio of activist investors to invest in Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) and push for change, may be so entrenched in the company that they’re going to take longer than expected to sort out, rating agency Moody’s Investors’ Service said Monday, adding that it might downgrade the home goods retailer’s debt rating.

“The review for downgrade reflects the acceleration of same-store sales declines in the first half of fiscal 2019, including slightly negative sales online in the second quarter that continues to erode operating income and concerns about Bed Bath’s market position,” Moody’s analyst Peggy Holloway wrote Monday.

Moody’s said it placed the home goods retailer’s senior unsecured regular bond/debenture to under review from negative on the debt currently rated Baa3

Holloway said Bed Bath’s transformation is taking longer than expected to become more competitive because others stole a jump on the company when evolving into an increasingly fast-changing retail landscape.

That changed earlier this year when, in the span of two months this spring, replaced seven directors with five new ones, ousted its CEO and two co-founders, and agreed to add four activist-backed board members.

Editor’s note: The original version of this article, including advisers and other details, was earlier published on The Deal’s premium subscription website. For access, log in to TheDeal.com or use the form below to request a free trial.

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