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Bed Bath & Beyond announces closures and leaves Ridgeway Mall

STAMFORD — Jen Morris was on her way to Staples in the Ridgeway Mall to buy printer paper on Tuesday when she saw a bright red sign outside Bed Bath & Beyond.

“Whole store on sale,” it read.

Without the sign, she wouldn’t have gone to Bed Bath & Beyond, Morris said.

“I can’t remember the last time I was here,” she said. “Years ago, I used to come all the time. But then their prices went up and their products weren’t as good. »

Perhaps that’s the story, in short, of the once-beloved retail giant, which announced last month that it would close 150 stores.

Now, it seems, the Stamford store – which anchored the Ridgeway Mall for 24 years – is one of them.

Calls and emails on Tuesday requesting confirmation from Bed Bath & Beyond’s corporate headquarters in Union, NJ, were not returned.

A call and email left with Steven Dudziec, vice president of leasing for Urstadt Biddle Properties, owner of the Ridgeway Mall, also went unreturned on Tuesday.

But the Urstadt Biddle website advertises the rental of the Bed Bath & Beyond space.

This shows that leaving the store will create a huge void.

According to the Urstadt Biddle website, the 47,000 square foot Bed Bath & Beyond is the second largest tenant, after Super Stop & Shop, at 60,000 square feet.

The Ridgeway Mall, with entrances on Summer, Bedford and Sixth streets, was built in the years following World War II and opened in 1949, according to the Mall Hall of Fame. There were several additions until the mall underwent a major renovation and expansion, reopening in 1998.

Bed Bath & Beyond opened and was a major draw in the bustling mall known for its large, convoluted parking lot.

Over the weekend, however, shoppers received a flashing red and white email: “In Stamford, EVERYTHING is on sale! it reads. “Everything must go! Lots of new discounts!”

Inside the store this week, red and white sale signs are everywhere. Many shelves are empty. Goods are stacked on wheeled carts as if they are about to be moved.

A store employee said he had not yet been told when the store would close.

In an Aug. 31 press release, Bed Bath & Beyond executives announced that the company “has identified and begun closing approximately 150 low-production Bed Bath & Beyond banner stores. The company continues to assess its portfolio and leases, in addition to staffing, to ensure alignment with client demand and future strategy.

Connecticut has 12 Bed Bath & Beyond stores, including Stamford.

Contacted on Tuesday, associates at stores in Norwalk, Fairfield, Hamden, Manchester, Enfield, Guilford, Simsbury and Wethersfield said they were not closing.

Store associates in Southington and Brookfield said they were unsure.

The associate of Bed Bath & Beyond on Hartford Turnpike in Waterford, a small town in southeastern Connecticut, said the store will close in January.

The future of the retailer is very uncertain.

In a Sept. 7 report, “The Rise and Decline of Bed Bath & Beyond,” Business Insider reporters wrote that the retailer, “the golden child of big box stores,” is the nation’s destination for household items since 1971. .

Bed Bath & Beyond stores, known for their huge assortment of merchandise, filled malls across the country. The company, once “at the forefront of America’s hypermarket movement,” is now on the verge of collapse, Business Insider reported.

E-commerce and competition from Walmart and Target, which offer lower prices, has taken its toll. In 2019, business leaders were ousted for “not adapting to the modern retail landscape,” Business Insider reported.

In 2020, 44 stores were closed. As the company’s new executives decided to limit the merchandise assortment, COVID-19 hit, slowing the supply chain and leaving Bed Bath & Beyond’s shelves empty.

In June, the company again ousted its leaders. This quarter, losses were $358 million, Business Insider reported. At the end of August, the company announced that it would close 150 stores and cut 20% of its staff.

A few days later, the chief financial officer, Gustavo Arnal, died by falling from the 18th floor of an apartment building in New York. Arnal and investor Ryan Cohen had just been named in a federal fraud class action lawsuit that claimed they conspired to “artificially inflate the price of the publicly traded shares of Bed Bath & Beyond,” Business Insider reported.

Bed Bath & Beyond executives said in a press release that they had secured $500 million in new funding. But it’s too early to tell if they can turn the company around, Business Insider reported.

The news looks better at the Ridgeway Mall, which will have to fill the huge space left by Bed Bath & Beyond.

According to the Urstadt Biddle website, the mall has two new tenants occupying the recently vacated spaces. Ashley Furniture took 19,832 square feet near the southern entrance to Summer Street, and Five Below, a discount chain that sells everything for less than $5, took 9,045 square feet next to Staples.

The mall has no other large vacant spaces. It has 6,700 square feet for rent next to the Old Navy store, according to the website, and two spaces that will be available on Sixth Street — 340 square feet occupied by a shoe repair shop and 4,800 square feet that housed Chinese people. . Buffet.

Morris said she wasn’t sure she’d miss Bed Bath & Beyond.

“I will miss the way it was before,” she said. “But I missed it for a long time.”