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UNION, NJ-Bed Bath & Beyond will cut store openings next year, but remains poised to take advantage of real estate opportunities that occur, executives said at the company’s third quarter conference call.

While the company will open an unspecified number of new stores in each of its formats, the total will be fewer than in fiscal 2008. However, the company is keeping its options open.

“We continue to believe that there is an opportunity for to open in excess of 400 additional Bed Bath & Beyond [stores] in the United States,” said Leonard Feinstein, co-chairman. “We believe real estate continues to adjust in this evolving economic environment, and we remain flexible to take advantage of additional opportunities that may occur.”

Net sales for the quarter were approximately $1.783 billion, down approximately 0.7% from the fiscal third quarter of 2007. Comp-store sales dropped approximately 5.6%. Net earnings were $87.7 million, compared with earnings of $138.2 million in the year-ago period.

As of November 29, 2008, the company had a total of 1,021 stores, including 921 Bed Bath & Beyond stores in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada, 48 Christmas Tree Shops stores, 11 buybuy BABY stores, and 41 stores Harmon or Harmon Face Values units.

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