Bethany Clough

Pier 1 Imports is closing stores – again. Will Valley stores be among them?

Ashley Cassidey works on the sales floor at a Pier 1 Imports in Maple Grove, Minnesota, on August 22, 2011. She has a masters in communications but can’t find work in her field of study. (Marlin Levison/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)
Ashley Cassidey works on the sales floor at a Pier 1 Imports in Maple Grove, Minnesota, on August 22, 2011. She has a masters in communications but can’t find work in her field of study. (Marlin Levison/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT) MCT

Retailer Pier 1 Imports announced plans this week to close another 70 stores – and possibly even more.

Will stores in the central San Joaquin Valley be among them?

It’s too early to tell. The retailer has not released a list of stores it plans to close.

The seller of home decor, furniture and dining items has one store each in Fresno, Merced, Clovis, Visalia.

Pier 1 detailed dismal – but expected – earnings this week in its most recent quarter, the second quarter of fiscal year 2020.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company’s net sales decreased 14.3% to $304.6 million compared to the same time period last year. It had a net loss of $100.6 million for the quarter.

Much of the financial pain came from the stores marking down merchandise it will no longer carry, clearing the way for new items that are part of a bigger turnaround plan, according to interim CEO Cheryl Bachelder in a conference call with investors.

Still, Bachelder announced plans to close 70 stores in the coming weeks and months. The company currently has 951 stores.

The closures are on top of the 70 stores it has already closed this year. Valley stores avoided that round of cuts.

Even more closures could be in the pipeline, Bachelder said.

The company is talking to landlords in an effort to reduce what it spends on rent.

“Thus far we’ve decided to close approximately 70 in fiscal (year) 2020 and expect that number to increase as we continue the dialog with landlords,” she said in the earnings call.

If talks with landlords don’t help Pier 1 meet its goals, it could close up to 15% of its stores – about 140 stores, she said.

Turnaround plan

Pier 1 began stocking new merchandise in stores in August and September and expects all its store to feature the new goods by the end of October.

“We are returning to the familiar best-selling categories our customers want from Pier 1,” Bachelder said.

That includes indoor furniture and housewares. The strategy appears to be working, with customers coming into the stores with catalogs, looking for specific items, she said.

“We all know that turnarounds take time, but I want to assure you our teams are working with a sense of urgency,” she 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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