Bed Bath & Beyond's turnaround isn't working yet. Shares are down 25%

Bed Bath & Beyond's stock tanked Wednesday after the company said holiday sales fell short of its expectations and that it was having trouble stabilizing the business. Store manager Jeannie Archila packs up a cookware at a Bed Bath & Beyond store on April 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

Bed Bath & Beyond's stock tanked Wednesday after the company said holiday sales fell short of its expectations and that it was having trouble stabilizing the business.

Bed Bath & Beyond said sales at stores open for at least a year — a key metric of the retailer's health — fell 5.4% during the holidays. Decreased foot traffic to stores, inventory management issues and increased promotions led to the decline, the company said. Bed Bath & Beyond had too few products on the shelves and was out-of-stock on key items during the holidays.

Bed Bath & Beyond's stock dropped 25% in early trading Wednesday.

"We are experiencing short-term pain in our efforts to stabilize the business, including the pressures of store traffic trends coupled with our own executional challenges," CEO Mark Tritton said in a statement Tuesday.

The company has struggled over the past several years against Amazon, direct-to-consumer brands online and big-box chains like Target.

Tritton, a veteran retail executive who was previously Target's chief merchant, joined Bed Bath & Beyond as CEO in November. The move was viewed positively on Wall Street. Since then, Tritton has overhauled his executive team. He is expected to announce a new strategy for Bed Bath & Beyond in the spring.

Tritton said Tuesday that the company was beginning to make "bold and broad-based changes to modernize our business," but asked for patience. "Our ability to achieve this and change the trajectory of our current results will take time."

Analysts say the challenges at Bed Bath & Beyond are deeper than they expected.

"Tritton has a more difficult job ahead than we anticipated and more aggressive changes are needed," Cristina Fernandez, analyst at Telsey Advisory Group, said in a note to clients Wednesday.

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