Got a stash of Bed Bath & Beyond coupons? You’d better use them soon
New York CNN –
Bed Bath & Beyond coupon shoppers take note: If you have a stash of its big blue 20% off coupons in your drawer or inbox, you better use them soon.
The home goods retailer issued a dire forecast on Thursday, casting doubt on its ability to stay in business much longer and saying it was exploring a path forward that includes filing for bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy filing, which is said to be coming within weeks, could spell the end of its iconic coupon programs, especially if the company pursues a bankruptcy process that involves liquidation rather than just restructuring.
“If Bed Bath & Beyond files for bankruptcy, the retailer may honor the 20% coupons for a 30-day period. After that, and especially if it starts closing stores and holding liquidation sales, creditors wouldn’t want to let shoppers use 20% off coupons on 70% off clearance prices,” said Burt Flickinger, sales expert with retail and managing director of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group.
Other retailers have followed a similar game plan after going bankrupt and closing stores.
Toys ‘R’ Us honored its gift cards, store credits and coupons for a 30-day period after it filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and then liquidated its US business. The toy retailer has since begun trying to bounce back through a partnership with Macy’s and opened its first post-bankruptcy store in 2019 under new ownership.
Creditors aren’t the only ones who can have problems with a store honoring coupons on top of liquidation discounts. “For name brand suppliers in particular, they would not want deep discounting to negatively impact their brand image,” said Ali Besharat, associate professor of marketing and co-director of the Center for Consumer and Business Innovation at University of Denver. Daniels College of Business.
Bed Bath & Beyond introduced its huge 20% off single item coupon three decades ago.
Over time, the over-the-top postcard-like post and digital coupon with a purple-blue border and font that reads “20% off in-store or online” developed a cult following and became a successful marketing strategy to entice repeat buyers. Flickinger said.
The coupon became so synonymous with the home goods chain that it earned a nickname — “Big Blue,” according to a New York Times report. And then it became a pop culture reference, as celebrities and late-night talk show hosts featured it in their on-air conversations, the report said.
Rumors circulated on various social platforms that Big Blue coupons never expire, even though the weekly coupon has an expiration date.
Then the pandemic hit and took over the retail industry. With stores closed for months and consumers rethinking their non-essential purchases, Bed Bath & Beyond’s sales and profits took a hit. In late 2020, the retailer said it was scaling back on its popular coupon program to grow its business.
Two years later, company executives called the move a “huge mistake,” admitting they had misjudged how many shoppers had come to embrace Big Blue’s regular coupon cadence.
And now, Big Blue’s future may indeed be in jeopardy. It depends on what comes next.
“Whether the Bed Bath & Beyond loyalty programs survive depends in part on whether the company goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, known as restructuring, or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, known as liquidation,” said Chandan Jha, professor of associate of finance at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY.
“If it’s the former, then there’s a very, very high chance that the rewards programs will survive and the company will honor any existing rewards and coupons. After all, the company would not want to lose its customers and these loyalty programs or loyalty rewards are done to retain customers,” Jha said.
But if the company goes into a liquidation process, then whether or not these reward points and coupons will be honored is uncertain, he said.
“Since the company no longer exists, it is quite possible that the points are simply useless. However, sometimes rewards points work differently and can survive even after the parent company dies,” he said. “In any case, if I were a customer holding rewards points and coupons, and if the company went through bankruptcy Chapter 7, then I’d use it before it lost value.”