Pier 1 to Shutter Nearly Half Its Stores

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FT WORTH, TEXAS—Pier 1 is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy and is planning to cut 40% of its staff, according to various news reports.

The retailer has announced it will close up to 450 outlets, or nearly half of its stores, as well close certain distribution centers. It also warned about its ability to continue as a going concern.

“Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision,” said CEO and CFO Robert Riesbeck in prepared remarks.

The company also reported its third quarter financials for fiscal 2020 and the news was predictably glum. Net sales decreased 13.3% to $358.4 million, compared to $413.2 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2019. Company comparable sales decreased 11.4% compared to the year ago period, primarily as a result of lower traffic.

While retail is undergoing a transformation that gives many analysts hope for a brighter long-term future for the sector, it is clear that in the immediate term the carnage has not stopped. Last year, US retailers announced 9,300 store closings, according to Coresight. It was a record year and up more than 50% from the closings in 2018.

In a separate finding, Reis has told the Financial Times that US mall vacancies have reached a 20-year high with a 9.7% vacancy rate.

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