Business Strategy and Outlook| Michael Miller |
After the sale of Epsilon in 2019 and spinoff of LoyaltyOne in 2021, Bread Financial is now solely a consumer credit company, with its private label credit cards and buy now-pay later businesses being its only two product lines. However, Bread’s retail credit card business is under pressure. The company has historically targeted midsize retailers for its partnerships. This strategy has led to a partnership base that is weighted toward mall-based retailers, which are in decline due to increased online shopping. Many of Bread’s retail partners have already filed for bankruptcy, including the Ascena Retail Group in July 2020 and Forever 21 in 2019. Bread has also suffered defections, losing Wayfair and Meijer to Citi in 2020 and BJ's Wholesale Club to Capital One at the start of 2022. We see retail partner loss as an ongoing threat to Bread as the firm does not have a competitive advantage that would give it an edge in retaining partnerships during contract renewal negotiations.