Pier 1 Imports closing nearly half of stores as sales falter

FORT WORTH (AP) — Pier 1 Imports is closing nearly half its 942 stores as it struggles to draw consumers and compete online.

The home decor company said on Monday it is closing up to 450 stores and will also shutter distribution centres. It didn’t say where the store closures would occur, but it operates stores in the United States (US) and Canada. Pier 1 also plans layoffs at its corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company didn’t say how many workers will be impacted.

The moves had some investors wondering if a bankruptcy filing was imminent. Also on Monday, Pier 1 added two members to its board with expertise in corporate restructuring.

Pier 1’s shares fell 17 per cent to close at USD5.18 on Monday. They fell another eight per cent in extended trading following the announcement of the store closures.

Pier 1 named a new CEO with a background in corporate turnarounds in November. Robert Riesbeck previously served as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.

“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 on Monday in a statement.

Pier 1 said sales in its most recent quarter fell 13 per cent to USD358 million as store traffic fell. It reported a net loss of USD59 million for the quarter, which ended last November 30.

The company — which was founded in California in 1962 — has been trying to revamp its cluttered stores and change its offerings to appeal more to younger customers. But it is struggling to compete with budget-friendly home decor sites like Wayfair.