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Bed Bath & Beyond taps top Walgreens exec to become its chief merchant

A shopper walks past a Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. store

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bed Bath & Beyond has tapped Walgreens‘ Chief Merchandising Officer Joe Hartsig to become its chief merchant, CNBC has learned, reporting to Chief Executive Mark Tritton.

Hartsig will also become president of Bed Bath & Beyond’s Harmon Stores business — which oversees shops that sells cosmetics, health essentials and beauty items — effective immediately. The company plans to announce the hiring publicly Wednesday morning.

“To rebuild our business, we need leaders of change,” Tritton said in a statement. “Improving the curation and differentiation of our assortment is our number one strategic priority, and Joe will be the driving force behind our ambition to make it easy to feel at home with Bed Bath & Beyond, while also providing the leadership and vision needed to grow our Harmon business.”

This notably is Tritton’s first major hire since he joined the company in late 2019, after a successful stint as chief merchandising officer at Target.

In the midst of this past holiday season, Tritton essentially blew up Bed Bath & Beyond’s executive circle. He ousted six executives, including the company’s chief merchandising officer, marketing officer, digital officer, its general counsel and chief administrative officer.

Hartsig will, in part, be responsible for helping Bed Bath & Beyond revamp its private label brands and launch new ones. This is something Tritton, given his experience, has said he is focused on. Before Walgreens, Hartsig worked nearly five years for Walmart‘s Sam’s Club division, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“The opportunity to help rebuild an iconic brand like Bed Bath & Beyond was too good to miss,” Hartsig said in a statement.

Bed Bath & Beyond late last month announced it was cutting about 500 jobs, or 10% of its corporate workforce, as part of a larger restructuring plan in a bid to trim expenses. It said it expects to reduce expenses by roughly $85 million annually, as a result of this plan. It says it plans to trim several hundred million dollars in costs over the longer term.

The job cuts came after Bed Bath & Beyond earlier in February said it was planning to spend up to $400 million on store remodels and supply chain upgrades, along with about $600 million this fiscal year on share repurchases and debt reduction.

Tritton, who became CEO in November, has said he is focused on fixing Bed Bath & Beyond’s stores, with a focus on baby, home and beauty. Some of the company’s other banners include Christmas Tree Shops, World Market and buybuy Baby.

Bed Bath & Beyond also announced a deal in February to sell its PersonalizationMall.com business, known for selling gifts for special occasions and holidays, to 1-800-Flowers.Com for $252 million.

The company is set to report fourth-quarter and full-year results on April 15.

Bed Bath & Beyond shares are down more than 40% over the past 12 months. The company has a market cap of about $1.23 billion.

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