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Bed Bath & Beyond bankruptcy: Here’s how long customers have to use coupons, gift cards

DEDHAM, Mass. — Bed Bath & Beyond customers who are still in possession of unused coupons and gift cards have just days left to use them after the struggling retail chain announced over the weekend that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Bed, Bath & Beyond’s troubles began a decade ago, when it began facing intense competition from retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon. But its demise accelerated about six months ago, when Bed, Bath & Beyond became so burdened with debt it announced the closure of most of its stores -- including twelve in Massachusetts.

“I think what we’re seeing, like in any industry, there are going to be winners and there are going to be losers,” said Mark Mathews of the National Retail Federation. “Consumers are becoming ever more fickle -- it’s so easy to switch between where you shop.”

Mathews said the critical thing consumers are looking for these days is convenience. Bed, Bath & Beyond could not offer the variety of product categories found at bigger stores.

“The old adage, the consumer is king -- that is even more true these days because we’ve gone through a situation where fifteen years ago you needed to have a shop open and within driving distance,” Mathews said. “Nowadays, you can buy anything, anywhere, anytime.”

For one final time Tuesday, Bed, Bath& Beyond customers got to redeem the chain’s famous big, blue coupons at the remaining locations still open.

At the Foxboro location, a long line formed at the register. Among the shoppers, Brenda Thordarson.

“I came because my daughter, she’s been married about a year and she needed something,” she said.

How does Thordarson feel about the store closing?

“It’s hard for me because whenever I’d need anything -- kitchen utensils, anything like that, I just popped in here,” she said.

Stephen Grolnic, another BB&B customer, said he’ll also miss the store.

“I don’t want any business closing and people losing their jobs,” he said. “Unfortunately, all the jobs are being shipped out to the big companies who pay less money and have less service. "

Despite the closing of Bed, Bath & Beyond, Mathews said this is not a sign of a strengthening retail apocalypse.

“There is absolutely no retail apocalypse,” said Mathews. “Retailers have been doing incredibly well. We’ve seen almost eight years of growth packed in the last three years, so that’s $1.5 trillion worth of growth in the retail sector.”

And Mathews said the pace of store openings is ahead of store closings.

“We have 2,700 new stores opening versus only 1,800 closing,” he said.

Of course, the employees of Bed, Bath & Beyond may only be able to concentrate right now, on the fact that their stores are closing. And some customers feel their pain.

“I feel bad for the people losing their jobs,” said Harris. “That’s the tough part right now.”

“I asked one of the workers if he had a new job yet and he said no, because they just found out on Sunday,” said Thordarson

Key dates for customers to know:

  • Coupons are valid through Wednesday, April 26
  • Gift cards and certificates are valid through May 8
  • Welcome Rewards (shopper points) and in-store credit will be accepted through May 15
  • Returns and exchanges must be made by May 24

While stores remain open, the company said in-stock online orders will be fulfilled, and wedding and baby registries will be safe. The online store and mobile app are still up and running, but it’s unclear if they’ll remain open during bankruptcy proceedings.

In a statement, President & CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond Sue Gove said, “Millions of customers have trusted us through the most important milestones in their lives – from going to college to getting married, settling into a new home to having a baby. Our teams have worked with an incredible purpose to support and strengthen our beloved banners, Bed Bath & Beyond, and buybuy BABY. We deeply appreciate our associates, customers, partners, and the communities we serve, and we remain steadfastly determined to serve them throughout this process. We will continue working diligently to maximize value for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The remaining Bed Bath & Beyond stores in Massachusetts include Danvers, Somerville, Hingham, Braintree, Foxboro, Leominster, Auburn, and Plymouth.

The Bed Bath & Beyond bankruptcy case can be found here.

Customers with additional questions should contact 833-570-5355 or email BBBYInfo@ra.kroll.com.

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