Home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc. said Monday that it has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to close all Canadian stores as part of the restructuring. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company, which was founded in 1962, has been struggling with increased competition from budget-friendly online retailers such as Wayfair. This June 15, 2005, file photo shows a Pier 1 Imports store in Dallas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Donna McWilliam

Pier 1 files for bankruptcy protection amid online challenge

Pier 1 said it will pursue a sale, with a March 23 deadline to submit bids

Pier 1 Imports Inc. — the once-trendy supplier of home goods like papasan chairs and throw pillows — filed for bankruptcy protection Monday after years of sliding sales.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company has been struggling with increased competition from budget-friendly online retailers like Wayfair and Amazon and discount stores like Home Goods. In a 2018 presentation to investors, the company acknowledged that shoppers thought its merchandise was outdated and expensive. It was also burdened by high sourcing and supply chain costs.

Pier 1 said it will pursue a sale, with a March 23 deadline to submit bids. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

In the meantime, Pier 1 said lenders have committed approximately $256 million in debtor-in-possession financing so it can continue its operations during the Chapter 11 proceedings.

“Today’s actions are intended to provide Pier 1 with additional time and financial flexibility as we now work to unlock additional value for our stakeholders through a sale of the company,” Pier 1 CEO and Chief Financial Officer Robert Riesbeck said in a statement. Riesbeck, an executive with previous corporate turnarounds, joined Pier 1 last summer.

Ted Gavin, a retail bankruptcy expert and managing partner of the consulting firm Gavin/Solmonese, said he hasn’t shopped at Pier 1 in more than a decade.

“People have been talking about Pier 1 heading for bankruptcy for a few years now. They’ve closed stores, they’ve struggled to find a steady customer base, they’ve struggled with falling sales,” Gavin said.

Pier 1 was founded in 1962 in California, where it made its name selling incense, beanbag chairs and love beads. The company moved to Texas in 1966 and went public in 1970.

But in recent years, it struggled to draw customers to its often cramped and cluttered stores. The company has been trying to streamline its merchandise, improve online sales and draw in younger customers, but it was an uphill climb. On Monday, Pier 1 was selling a tufted velvet armchair for a sale price of $399 on its website. Target was offering a similar one for $214.

In its most recent fiscal year, which ended in February 2019, Pier 1 reported sales of $1.55 billion. That was down 18% from 2015. Pier 1’s sales tumbled 13% to $358 million in its most recent quarter, which ended Nov. 30.

Last month, Pier 1 announced it would close 450 stores, including all of its stores in Canada. The company is also closing two distribution centres. Pier 1 wouldn’t say how many jobs will be affected.

Pier 1’s shares have fallen 45% since the start of the year. They closed at $3.58 per share on Friday.

READ MORE: Canadian consumer, business insolvency filings grew by 9% in 2019, report finds

Dee-Ann Durbin, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Bankruptcies

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Convoy of essential service vehicles visits Nelson hospital and care homes

The event was meant as a thank you to front-line workers

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Most Read