A near doubling of its e-commerce business wasn't enough to protect Bed Bath & Beyond's (NASDAQ:BBBY) sales during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The specialty retailer revealed on Wednesday that revenue fell by 49% in the fiscal first quarter, which included the challenging selling months of March, April, and May.

Temporary store closures pressured sales, although the home furnishings specialist did report a solid boost in its digital business. With help from offerings like curbside pickup, e-commerce sales improved 82% for the full period and expanded by over 100% in April and May.

"The impact of the COVID-19 situation was felt across our business," CEO Mark Tritton said in a press release.

A woman holding shopping bags at a mall.

Image source: Getty Images.

The collapsing sales level combined with impairment charges to generate $461 million of operating losses. Tax benefits improved that figure slightly, although net losses remained elevated at just over $300 million.

Bed Bath & Beyond said most of its stores have now reopened and the rising traffic volume is adding to its positive momentum online. Still, the retailer is preparing for a period of aggressive restructuring ahead, with plans in place to close roughly 200 stores over the next two years.

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