FORT WORTH, Texas — Add Pier 1 Imports to long list of retailers showing signs of distress.
The troubled company put out a dismal earnings report Wednesday, and disclosed a larger-than-expected fourth quarter loss. Pier 1 said it’s shuttering as many as 45 locations this year — with the potential for several dozen more.
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.
Its stock dropped by nearly 25% on the news.
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. She will also keep her job at the consulting firm.
The company lost its previous CEO, Alasdair James, last December after his turnaround plan failed. Pier 1, which is known for its candles and home accessories, has been struggling to compete against online retailers.
The company is beginning an “action plan” to save as much as $110 million by the beginning of fiscal 2020. It also plans to establish a “clearer merchandise focus,” including eliminating inventory that isn’t “uniquely Pier 1 merchandise.”
“We are continuing to focus on opportunities and initiatives to help drive incremental benefits in the coming years, creating the runway to return our brand to long-term health and sustainable financial performance,” said Cheryl Bachelder, Pier 1’s interim CEO, in a statement.
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.