What to do with all those Bed Bath & Beyonds?

If you’ve been looking to gift that special someone a lightly used retail outlet, act fast: nearly half of the now-emptying 65 Bed Bath & Beyond stores in Canada have been snapped up.

Driving the news: Hamilton entrepreneur Doug Putman is acquiring 21 former Bed Bath & Beyond and BuyBuyBaby leases for $2 million, with the intention of using them to launch a new home goods retailer called rooms + spaces, per the Financial Post.  

  • As you may already know, Bed Bath & Beyond closed its Canadian stores in February as part of a broader attempt to stave off bankruptcy (it did not work).

rooms + spaces (lowercase very intentional) will be a lot like bed + bath, featuring products sourced from many of the same suppliers, but with a bigger focus on name brands, a wide range of price points, and a commitment to ensuring there’s always enough product in stock. 

  • Canadian Tire will take over another ten ex-Bed Bath & Beyond leases for $1.6 million, which will be converted into Mark’s and Pro Hockey Life stores. 

Zoom out: Call Putman the Dr. Frankenstein of retail, because the man loves bringing dead stores back to life. In 2017, he acquired the leases of 29 Canadian HMV locations after it went bust and turned them into Sunrise Records stores. He later acquired the HMV brand.

  • Then in 2021, he acquired Toys’R’Us and Babies’R’Us Canada brands from parent company Fairfax with plans to revive the beloved toy store chain.

Bottom line: Canadians are reining in spending, but we still like in-store shopping: 73% of us visit physical stores at least once a month. As US retailers continue to falter in Canada, it could fall on domestic brands to fill up the empty husks dotting the nation’s shopping centres.—QH