Thursday, May 29, 2008

Origin of companies- Bed bath and Beyond

Remember the film "Click" where adam sandler plays the lead role? then you must remember the store "bed bath and beyond" where he goes to and has a sweet nap(and thats where the entire story takes place, though not literally.. )

Being an Indian, i was surprised to find that BB&B is a company that features in the Nasdaq100.
lets look at the history of that company now.

BB&B was founded by Leonard Feinstein and Warren Eisenberg. Both men possessed over a decade of retail experience in 1971 when they formed Bed 'n Bath, a small chain of specialty linen and bath shops in suburban New York. As employees in management positions at Arlan's, a discount chain that fell on hard times during the early 1970s, the two sensed an essential change in retailing trends. "We had witnessed the department store shakeout, and knew that specialty stores were going to be the next wave of retailing," Feinstein told Chain Store Executive in 1993. "It was the beginning of the designer approach to linens and housewares and we saw a real window of opportunity." Bed 'n Bath's first two 2,000-square-foot stores were located in high-traffic strip malls and carried such brand-names as Cannon, Wamsutta, and Fieldcrest, as well as a line of lower&ndash′iced linens and bath towels.

During the 1970s Bed 'n Bath expanded at a healthy but unremarkable pace, and by 1985 the chain had grown to 17 stores located in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California. During this time, however, a number of similar bath and bed specialty shops had opened. What had begun as a niche market was growing increasingly competitive as retailers sensed a "cocooning trend" among baby boomers. Specialty chains such as Linens 'n Things, Pacific Linens, and Luxury Linens sprang up to tap into this new market. Feinstein and Eisenberg opened their first superstore in 1985 in an effort to set themselves apart from the sudden wave of competition that had appeared.

The new superstore was revolutionary in a number of ways. Over ten times the size of Bed 'n Bath's original shop, this 20,000-square-foot outlet offered a comprehensive line of home furnishings in addition to Bed 'n Bath's traditional linens and bath products. While most department stores and specialty shops offered only a few select brands, Bed 'n Bath's superstore offered seemingly every possible color, style, and size of each product. Until this time, most independent home textile retailers either copied department store merchandising techniques or followed the mundane merchandising style used by discount retailers. Eisenberg and Feinstein did neither. Bed 'n Bath, along with chains such as Toys "R" Us and Blockbuster Video, became pioneering "category killers": large specialty retail outlets that beat their competition by offering virtually every possible product in their specific category at everyday low prices. Other than semi-annual clearances to reduce inventory, the company never held sales. They claimed that their prices were already lower than other stores' sale prices.

In 1987 Eisenberg and Feinstein changed the name of their organization to Bed Bath & Beyond in order to more accurately reflect their superstore format. By 1991 Bed Bath & Beyond had opened seven new superstores in New Jersey, California, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, and Florida, and expanded two existing stores into the superstore format. Sales reached $134 million that year, generating earnings of $10.4 million. Eisenberg and Feinstein funneled the revenue back into the company.

The company's success was considered unusual for the home products industry. As one analyst said, Bed Bath & Beyond "took a less than strong category and made it important." It did so by making ordinary household products seem exciting, even romantic. Customer service was an essential part of this marketing strategy. The company strove to build word-of-mouth advertising through a unique combination of family atmosphere and attentive customer service. Both management and sales personnel worked the floor, arranging merchandise displays, helping shoppers carry products, and otherwise making themselves useful. According to Fortune, even Feinstein and Eisenberg would gather on the floor on Saturday, to "tidy merchandise and ... pick up bits of litter." Check-out waiting time was reduced by increasing the number of cash registers, and the company developed a policy wherein, if the store was out of a desired product, Bed Bath & Beyond would deliver it to the customer's home, free of charge. Due to this strategy, Bed Bath & Beyond was able to keep paid advertising to a minimum. The company often saturated the market with advertising when a new store opened, then successfully relied on word-of-mouth to keep customers coming in.

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