Business

Pier 1 Imports to close up to 450 stores, though status of Marion, Coralville locations unknown

Chairs and paper lanterns are displayed at Pier 1 Imports in Coralville. (The Gazette)
Chairs and paper lanterns are displayed at Pier 1 Imports in Coralville. (The Gazette)

Home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports announced plans Monday to close up to 450 stores, close to half its 942 total locations, after reporting a multimillion-dollar sales drop.

It’s unclear whether two Corridor Pier 1 Imports stores — at 1406 Twixt Town Road in Marion and 1401 Coral Ridge Ave. in Coralville — will shut their doors. Company representatives did not provide information on planned closures Tuesday.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company will decide which stores to close based on a “comprehensive” evaluation of its portfolio, factoring in historical and recent store performance, the timing of lease expirations and whether landlords will negotiate more favorable lease terms, according to its latest earnings report.

Pier 1 Imports shared its decision to pursue store closures, plus some distribution centers, across the United States and Canada in the earnings report, covering the third fiscal quarter of 2020, which ended Nov. 30.

“Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision,” said Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1 Imports’ CEO and chief financial officer, in an investors release.

“We thank our team of hardworking associates for their commitment to Pier 1 and to serving our customers.”

Those closures “will enable us to move forward with an appropriately sized store footprint and operating structure as an omnichannel retailer and better position Pier 1 to meet our customers where they shop,” Riesbeck said.

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Bloomberg on Monday reported Pier 1 Imports has drafted a bankruptcy plan and spoken with current lenders about providing Chapter 11 financing. That same day, the company’s shares fell as much as 30 percent, coming to rest around 17 percent at close.

Pier 1 Imports posted a 13.3 percent drop — from $413.2 million to $358.4 million — in net sales from the third quarters of fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2020.

The company’s net loss grew from $50.4 million to $59 million over that same time period.

The retailer announced in April 2019 it could shutter up to 145 locations if it was unable to boost sales, after it closed 30 stores in fiscal 2019.

The company has enlisted a third-party liquidator to help manage the store closings, so it can “maintain the same high standards customers have come to expect and ensure a seamless experience for customers” at those locations, its release said.

The Pier 1 Imports in Coralville currently is holding a storewide sale, according to the company’s website.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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