Doug Putman Acquires Bed Bath & Beyond Leases in Canada to Launch New Home Retail Concept [Interview]


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Canadian entrepreneur Doug Putman is launching a new Canadian home store brand called rooms + spaces in 21 retail locations formerly occupied by Bed Bath & Beyond and buybuyBABY storefronts.

Putman is acquiring more than 800,000 square feet of real estate and the new stores will open in early summer.

“With so many empty storefronts across the country right now, Canadians are craving enjoyable in-store shopping experiences, where they can see and touch products, especially when it comes to outfitting a home. I see such a strong opportunity to invest in Canadian retail and I’m always looking for new opportunities,” said Putman, founder of Ancaster-based Putman Investments.

“The creation of a new home brand was a natural addition to my retail portfolio, which now provides shoppers with everything they need across the baby, toy and home categories.

“We just went through the (available leases) and estimated what we thought we could potentially do in sales and then kind of looked at what the rent agreements would be. If we thought we could make the store profitable we took it on. There were some stores that we didn’t feel we could make profitable either sales we thought would be too low or rents were too high. Ideally I would have loved to take all 55 but in the end it came down to the stores we got. Since this release, we signed a couple more as well. We know we’re going to be above 21 stores. It’s now just seeing how many other deals we can get across the line. I’m still hoping we have more than 30 stores by the end of the year.”

Photo supplied

The entrepreneur’s retail portfolio includes Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us Canada, Sunrise Records, Alex Brands (including Alex Toys in the US), T.Kettle, hmv in the UK and more.

Doug Putman. Image supplied

The new retail concept will cater to the modern shopper who is looking to create spaces throughout their home that reflect their unique personality and style. The stores will carry a broad range of products for every room in the home. From essentials such as kitchen gadgets and luxurious towels to unique items like bed wedges, cherry pitters and charcuterie sets, the stores will have everything needed to transform a space, whether it be a house, apartment or cottage, into a home.

rooms + spaces is actively hiring 500 associates and will open more positions in the near future. Interested candidates are asked to apply online at

The new retailer said it will support Canadian businesses and suppliers wherever possible and carry iconic brands, such as oxo, Homedics, Cuisinart, Martex and more.

The company will be led by Greg Dyer, formerly General Manager of Bed Bath & Beyond Canada.

 “I can’t wait to welcome shoppers into our new Canadian-owned rooms + spaces stores this summer,” said Dyer, President, rooms + spaces. “Our team is excited about creating product assortments tailored to Canadian homes and decorating styles. Whether it’s couples seeking affordable decorating or entertaining solutions, or parents supporting the needs of students moving away to school, our store associates are here to help consumers find everything they need to make their home their own.”

The stores will be located in former Bed Bath & Beyond and buybuy BABY locations in the following cities:

British Columbia:

  • Kelowna: Orchard Plaza, 1540 Keehn Road
  • Langley: Langley City Square, 19860 Langley Bypass
  • Vancouver: 1740 West Broadway
  • Victoria: Mayfair, 775 Finlayson Street


  • Calgary: Brentwood Village, 3630 Brentwood Road
  • Calgary: Chinook Station, 306 Glenmore Trail SW
  • Edmonton: South Edmonton Common, 2021-98 Street NW
  • Edmonton: West Edmonton Mall, 8882 170 Street


  • Regina: Grasslands, 4855 Gordon Road
  • Saskatoon: Preston West, 1709 Preston Avenue North


  • Belleville: Bell Front Shopping Centre, 366 North Front Street
  • Cambridge: Smartcentres Cambridge, 70 Pinebush Road
  • East Gwillimbury: Green Lane Centre, 1-18126 Yonge Street
  • Kitchener: The Boardwalk, 225 The Boardwalk
  • London: Westwood Centre, 3325 Wonderland Road
  • Richmond Hill: Bayview Ridge Shopping Centre, 225 High Tech Road
  • Stittsville: 5487 Hazeldean Road
  • Stoney Creek: Heritage Greene, 1783 Stone Church Road East
  • Whitby: Thickson Ridge Power Centre, 1650 Victoria Street East
  • Woodbridge: RioCan Colossus Centre, 67 Colossus Drive


  • St. John’s: The Village Shopping Centre, 430 Topsail Road

Putman said the available lease locations were attractive.

“There’s not a ton of medium, large box space available and Bed Bath had good real estate to begin with. So getting these locations is good for us and obviously we want to be where the traffic is and where people are going to buy. We like the centres that we’re in,” he said.

Putman said the new retail concept began as soon as he started hearing there were troubles with Bed Bath & Beyond.

“We look at a lot of opportunities in retail. There’s obviously been a bit more now, recently. So any time something comes up we’re always thinking about the space and do we believe it’s a large enough opportunity for us and do we believe we can fix the problems that whatever that company has had,” he said.

“I think on the Bed Bath piece we felt it was a great retailer at one time. They had their troubles. Payment became an issue. Vendors stopped shipping. They made some poor decisions and all of a sudden the business is in a lot of trouble, but overall the top line of the business was really strong. Customers were shopping there. Customers enjoy it. They’re not happy they don’t have the right stock and things like that.”

Photo supplied

Putman said the home decor and furnishing sector is a huge category in the retail industry with billions of dollars spent on it.

“I think it just checked a lot of our boxes of being a business that was big enough and interesting enough for us and the opportunity was there. It just all worked out well for us,” he said.

There were no financial details released about the lease transactions, although sources have said the purchase prices for leases was somewhere in the $3 million range.

Putman said the new brand has purchased all new inventory for its stores.

“We believe it’s going to be successful because we have the capital to allow the team to purchase the inventory that they need with a focus on brands. And I think the team we’ve assembled, the merchants, are very knowledgeable and I think they understand the category really well. So I think the assortment is going to come out looking fantastic when we get opened,” he said.

“It was one of the categories that benefited through the pandemic of spending. But even if you look at the Bed Bath numbers pre-pandemic in 2019, 2018, 2017, they always had really good robust sales, good robust earnings . . . They were doing exceptionally well for many years. So the pandemic was good for them and that probably helped mask a lot of the issues they were having. So when sales kind of dropped back down it was a big problem.

“We think the home category is going to continue to grow. Everyone wants to have a space that they love and enjoy whether that’s their house, their apartment, their dorm, their condo. So I think if you have the right product at the right price then I think you’ve got a winning formula. We’re not trying to compete with a Walmart or a TJX. Our outlook is there’s this great big mid-space where you can do a good, better, best assortment and not be in a race to the bottom to have the cheapest towel or the cheapest blanket. To have something that’s a good price but is a great quality product.”

Earlier this week, Canadian Tire Corporation announced it was expanding its Mark’s store footprint with the acquisition of several real estate leases formerly held by Bed, Bath & Beyond in Canada.

The retail giant announced Tuesday it was acquiring 10 of those leases for $1.6 million.

Acquiring these leases will enable CTC to continue building on the growth of its Mark’s and Pro Hockey Life (PHL) banners. CTC has designated six of the 10 leases acquired for Mark’s relocations in Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Strathcona County (Alberta), Langley (BC), and Oakville (Ontario), it said.

In addition to the Mark’s relocations, the agreement will allow CTC to implement plans for four new Pro Hockey Life (PHL) stores in Ontario. The 10 leases combined represent more than 242,000 square feet of retail space, added the company.

Retail Ventures CND Inc. was retained by Bed Bath & Beyond Canada LP and Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc. (court monitor), to facilitate the sale of leases or other property rights for 54 leases of Bed Bath & Beyond and the 11 leases of Buy Buy Baby across the country.

Sam Winberg, Principal/Broker of Retail Ventures CND, said the brokerage worked under the direction of Dave Rosenblatt, Partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, LLP in Toronto, in the process that concluded on March 31.

He said 48 leases were “purchased”. 

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.



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