Bethany Clough

Pier 1 and Bed Bath & Beyond are closing stores nationwide. Will Fresno area lose any?

Bed Bath & Beyond in Fresno offers mini-regrigerators, microwave ovens and other Hello Kitty-themed items for college-aged back to school shopping. Assistant store manager Thomas Audas said Hello Kitty MP3 ear buds are so popular there are none in stock on the shelves. Photographed on Friday, August 3, 2012. (ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE)
Bed Bath & Beyond in Fresno offers mini-regrigerators, microwave ovens and other Hello Kitty-themed items for college-aged back to school shopping. Assistant store manager Thomas Audas said Hello Kitty MP3 ear buds are so popular there are none in stock on the shelves. Photographed on Friday, August 3, 2012. (ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE) Fresno Bee Staff Photo

Pier 1 and Bed Bath & Beyond have announced plans to close stores in recent weeks.

Will Valley locations be among them?

We don’t know yet. Neither company has released a list of which stores it plans to close.

But often you can get a sense of what might happen by taking a look at how much the company is struggling and how many stores it has in our area.

With two home retailers closing locations, it might be tempting to think sales of home products are struggling everywhere.

Nope. The home category is doing fine, said Neil Saunders, managing director of retail analysis firm GlobalData Retail.

“The problem is that both of these players are not really doing a very good job of capitalizing on that and capturing the growth that’s available, which is why they’re suffering and having to close stores,” he said.

Each has their own problems, he said.

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Bed Bath & Beyond adds large health and beauty section bclough@fresnobee.com The Fresno Bee

Pier 1

The seller of furniture, throw pillows and wine glasses with bunnies on them announced this week it is considering closing up to 45 locations.

Pier 1 has four stores in the area, one each in north Fresno, Clovis, Visalia and Merced.

The retailer closed 30 stores in its previous fiscal year. The numbers of expected closures aren’t huge, given that Pier 1 has more than 1,000 stores in the United States and Canada.

But sales are slipping. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 13.7 percent in the most recent quarter, compared to the same time last year.

Pier 1 plans to close stores as their leases expire, according to its earnings release. The number of closures could increase if the company doesn’t reach its cost-cutting goals.

Generally, retailers also tend to close stores in areas where there’s more than one store in the market, Saunders said. They also target stores in weak locations, like struggling malls or strip malls, he said.

“Pier 1 isn’t a terrible retailer, but it really struggles at understanding who the customer is and what its point of view in the market is,” he said. “People don’t think, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll go to Pier 1 to buy this table or lamp.”

That’s too bad, he added, because they have some nice products in the store.

Bed Bath & Beyond

The retailer selling bedding, dishes, curtains and every kitchen gadget imaginable saw its same-store sales fall 1.4 percent in its last quarter. Bed Bath & Beyond also owns Cost Plus World Market and Buy Buy Baby.

The company plans to close 40 stores this year, while opening 15 new ones, the chief financial officer said in a conference call, as reported by USA Today. Most of the closures will be Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

The Valley has two Bed Bath & Beyond stores, one each in Fresno and Visalia.

“The failure is that basically there’s little retail strategy in the stores,” Saunders said.

They appear to be shoving as many products into the store as they can, he said. The Fresno store also added a large health and beauty section in recent years.

If shoppers want to find everything in one place, they will likely turn to Walmart or Amazon, Saunders noted.

Both retailers have plans to hopefully increase sales and the closures aren’t “enormous,” he said.

“It’s pruning and cutting down, but still, it’s a still sign of failure,” he said.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.
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