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Pier 1 to close dozens of stores amid slowing sales

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21 and CNN) – Adding to a long list of troubled retailers, Pier 1 Imports said it would close dozens of stores as it attempts to regain solid financial footing.

The announcement that up to 45 locations would close this year came as the company put out a dismal earnings report on Wednesday, leading to a drop in stock value of nearly 25 percent.

Pier 1 has two stores in Fort Wayne: On Coldwater Road and at Apple Glen.

The company did not indicate which locations would cease operations, but said it could add dozens more in 2020 and beyond if its situation did not improve.

Pier 1 said that it could shutter “up to 15% of stores if the company is unable to achieve performance goals, sales targets, and reductions in occupancy and other costs.” The company closed 30 stores last year and has roughly 1,000 stores remaining.
Sales were particularly dire in its fourth-quarter, which is typically strong for retailers because it includes the holiday shopping period. The company said sales plunged 13.7% compared with the same time a year ago.
Pier 1 appointed a restructuring expert as its interim chief financial officer to help turn things around. Deborah Rieger-Paganis, the managing director at global consulting firm AlixPartners, will fill the role.
The company touted her 30 years of experience of “leading and improving retail companies’ finance organizations and business operations,” in a release.
“I am committed to instilling financial discipline across the organization as we work to drive a successful turnaround and create value for shareholders over the long term,” Rieger-Paganis said.
Pier 1 joins a growing list of retailers that are closing locations. This year, US retailers have announced that 5,994 stores will close. That number already exceeds last year’s total of 5,864 closure announcements, according to a recent report from Coresight Research.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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