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Pier 1 to close nearly half of its stores. No news yet on Del.

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Pier 1 Imports has announced that it will shutter nearly half of its stores after months of poor sales. The company has four locations in Delaware, including this one in Christiana. | PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOGLE

FORT WORTH, Texas ““ The home furnishings and décor retailer Pier 1 Imports announced Monday, Jan. 6, that it would close up to 450 storefronts as it deals with continued poor financials.

Pier 1 reported a 13.3% year-over-year net sales decrease in the third quarter that ended Nov. 30, and it led the company’s CEO and Chief Financial Officer Robert Riesbeck to announce the cost-cutting measures to create an “appropriately sized store footprint and operating structure.”

The retailer currently operates 936 stores, meaning that it planned to reduce upward of 48% of its stores. Pier 1 has four locations in Delaware, including Wilmington, Christiana, Dover and Rehoboth Beach. The company has not announced which locations it will close, a timeline for those closures or how it would decide on those affected.

“Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision,” Riesbeck said in a statement.

The company also announced that it would close certain distribution centers and reduce its corporate expenses, including through layoffs.

Riesbeck reported that Pier 1 was is hiring a third-party liquidator to help manage the store closings.

The news of the closures and a possible impending bankruptcy filing for Pier 1, , does not come as a surprise. For most of last year, the company had announced that it planned to close dozens of stores.

Then in November, Riesbeck was promoted to CEO from his position as chief financial officer. Riesbeck was previously involved as an executive with bankruptcy filings at plus-size clothing retailer FullBeauty and electronics and appliance retailer HHGregg.

The third quarter report was just the latest drop in the bucket for Pier 1, which was founded in San Mateo, California, in 1962. Through the first 39 weeks of 2019, operating loss was$222.9 millioncompared to operating loss of$122.8 millionin the same period a year ago, the company reported.

The news of the closures led to a 16% stock valuation loss for the company, dropping from $6.23 a share to $5.18 at close Monday. On Tuesday, it continued to fall, trading under $5 a share.

By Jacob Owens

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