New Canadian home retailer to take over former Bed Bath & Beyond stores
Bed Bath & Beyond may have pulled the plug on Canadian operations, but its former retailers will soon be home to an array of housewares once again.
Hailing from Ancaster, Ont., serial entrepreneur Doug Putman – behind brands like Toys ‘R’ Us, Babies ‘R’ Us Canada, Sunrise Records – is foraying into the Canadian retail landscape with his new brand, rooms + spaces.
When Bed Bath & Beyond announced its departure from Canada, Putman said he saw it as an exciting opportunity to step in.
“It just felt like a great opportunity for us. I think we believe in what they were doing, I think we believe that there’s a space in Canada for a retailer like that,” Putman told CTV News Toronto on Thursday.
“We just think it was not managed correctly, and so with a few changes and tweaks, I think we could make this into a very successful retailer.”
Putman says as the U.S. retailer started to run into financial troubles, less and less inventory made it up to Canada, and the offerings shifted towards private labels rather than branded products.
There’s a high risk in buying dozens of Bed Bath & Beyond locations before launching rooms + spaces, Putman noted, from hiring to not having the right product, and of course, rent payments to make.
“I would always say I feel that the only pressure I really have is towards my associates and the people that work for me, and so it’s really important that we’ve never had a bankruptcy in the companies that we own. It’s important for me that these are successful,” he said.
“I mean the risk is financial for sure, but you know, I think the risk [too] is you have people relying on you – they rely on you for their paychecks, to buy their food, and to pay their rent, so you better deliver.”
Rooms + spaces will have an array of products that can be used for every room at home, ranging from essentials like towels to more unique items like charcuterie sets. It will also sell brand name products, like Cuisinart and oxo.
“We’ve got a whole merchant team that’s scouring the world to find the greatest and best products, whatever that new hot colour is, whatever the new hot appliance is, making sure that we’re early on that, that we’re launching new products,” Putman said.
“But definitely a heavy focus on branded products versus private labels […] We believe that branded products are what the customer is really looking for.”
The new retailer is set to open its first 21 locations across Canada this summer, hopefully in early July, Putman noted.
“Our target by the end of the year is to get to 30 stores,” he added.
The new Canadian home retailer is actively hiring 500 positions, and Putman noted they have reached out to former Bed Bath & Beyond employees to see if they are interested in employment.
The new homeware stores will be scattered across the country with 10 of them opening in Ontario, including three Greater Toronto Area locations in Richmond Hill, Whitby and Woodbridge.
Alongside the news of Putnam’s acquisition, Canadian Tire also announced it has bought 10 former Bed Bath & Beyond stores across Canada, including one in Oakville.
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