Activist target Bed Bath & Beyond warns of more pain as supply issues sink sales

April 13 (Reuters) - Bed Bath & Beyond Inc reported a surprise quarterly loss on a 22% slump in sales, which it blamed on supply-chain issues and falling store traffic, at a time when the retailer is contending with pressure from activist investor Ryan Cohen.

The home goods chain’s shares tumbled over 12% in morning trading as executives warned of inventory shortages persisting until the second half of the year and worsening consumer confidence due to the Ukraine war.

“We’re seeing an emerging uncertainty related to consumer sentiment based on market and retail indicators that show a distinctive slowdown in consumer demand,” finance chief Gustavo Arnal said on a call with analysts.

A lack of available inventory from the supply chain snarls hit fourth-quarter sales by $175 million, Chief Executive Officer Mark Tritton said.

Port congestion, Covid-lockdowns and a host of other supply chain issues have hammered companies like Bed Bath & Beyond over the last year, while bigger retailers such as Walmart Inc and Target Corp have used their deep pockets to spend their way out of the bottlenecks and gain market share.

GameStop Corp Chairman Cohen in March disclosed a 10% stake in the retailer and pressured it to explore strategic alternatives that included a full sale.

Bed Bath & Beyond appointed three new directors to its board as part of a settlement with Cohen.

Tritton said on Wednesday a multi-year turnaround plan he rolled out in 2019 had taken a hit from the derailing of the global supply chain, unprecedented inflation and the Russia-Ukraine crisis weighing on consumer confidence.

Bed Bath & Beyond reported an adjusted loss of 92 cents per share, compared to estimates for a profit of 3 cents, according to Refinitiv IBES data. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)