Main Line Bed Bath & Beyond store closes

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As Bed Bath & Beyond undergoes seismic downsizing, its footprint in the Philadelphia area is also shrinking.

In late August, the company announced it would be closing around 150 “low production” stores, but a list of the first 56 stores slated for closure was only released this week.

The only Pennsylvania location to date is Bed Bath & Beyond at Wynnewood Mall, where the store currently occupies 61,030 square feet of retail space. The rest of the company’s closures are centered in the Midwest, New York and New Jersey, though there are none yet in South Jersey. The nearest store is in Manalapan Township, Monmouth County.

The company did not respond to requests for comment on how quickly its business will end or how many employees will be affected. A spokesperson for Bed Bath & Beyond would only say that the store would be closed “in the coming months” and that the locations in King of Prussia and Jenkintown would remain.

Retail experts say Wynnewood Mall landlord Federal Realty Investment Trust will have no trouble finding another tenant there.

“This is a significant mainline vacancy that doesn’t happen that often,” said Steven Gartner, executive vice president of retail services at CBRE. “It’s often a good thing for shopping centers when a tenant who may not be relevant leaves. This is one of those renovations that homeowners get in tight real estate markets.

Federal Realty Investment Trust did not return requests for comment.

Bed Bath & Beyond has experienced extreme turbulence in recent months as its stock plunged, it announced mass store closures and a 20% reduction in its workforce. The company’s struggles became even more tragic days after the announced downsizing, when chief financial officer Gustavo Arnal leapt to his death from a Manhattan skyscraper.

The Bed Bath & Beyond issues come at an uncertain time in the retail industry. In downtown, the Walnut and Chestnut Street marquee hallways are still in motion after the pandemic resulted in a significant amount of online shopping.

But some big-box retailers, like Target, Macy’s and Kohl’s, are doing well. In upscale suburbs, like Philadelphia’s mainline, retail sales remained strong. This is partly because the available square footage hasn’t changed much, as new development tends to be scarce in the affluent suburban areas of the inner ring.

“Mainline retail remains extremely desirable and competitive for several reasons,” Gartner said. “Very high barriers to entry, there are hardly any development sites, so properties like Wynnewood Mall remain highly sought after.”

Wynnewood Mall dates to the 1950s, during the post-war boom when the number of American suburban malls exploded from eight in 1946 to 4,000 in 1960. It marked the first of John Wanamaker’s department stores to open outside the city center. Today, Bed Bath & Beyond occupies the space where Wanamakers once was.

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