Pier 1 Imports stores in Southwest Florida appear to be safe — for now

A view of the Pier 1 Imports store at Granada Shoppes in North Naples on Jan. 7, 2020.

Pier 1 Imports stores in Southwest Florida appear to be safe — for now. 

On Monday, the struggling home decor retailer announced it would close about half of its stores.

Asked whether their locations were on the chopping block, employees at stores across Southwest Florida all had the same answer on Tuesday — a resounding no.

There are a little more than half a dozen stores in the five-county region, from Naples to Venice, according to the retailer’s website. Those stores include two in Naples, two in Fort Myers and one at Coconut Point mall in Estero.

More:Pier 1 Imports to close up to 450 stores, nearly half of its locations

In a news release, Pier 1 announced it “intends to reduce its store footprint by up to 450 locations” — and with the smaller footprint it plans to close certain distribution centers and cut its corporate expenses, in part by reducing the headcount at its headquarters.

The retailer said the decision to shrink its store footprint is needed “to better align its business with the current operating environment.

In a statement, Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1’s chief executive and financial officer, said: “Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision.”

Read:These retailers are facing the fight for their lives in 2020: Sears, Forever 21, Pier 1

Looking ahead, he said he believes the company will “deliver improved financial results over time” with its business transformation and cost-reduction initiatives.

With an appropriately sized store footprint and operating structure the retailer will be in a much better position “to meet our customers where they shop.” Riesbeck said.

The company saw net sales in its fiscal third quarter decline 13.3% over the year to $358.4 million.

A view of Pier 1 Imports at Granada Shoppes in North Naples on Jan. 7, 2020.

More:What should replace Sears in Naples? Readers say: Dave & Buster’s

Meanwhile, sales at its same stores — or stores open at least a year — reported a sales decline of 11.4% compared to last year, primarily due to lower customer traffic.

The company reported a loss of $59 million, or $14.15 a share, for the third quarter, including transformation costs of about $10 million, primarily related to professional fees. That compares to net loss of $50.4 million, or $12.49 a share, a year ago.

According to Bloomberg, the company is preparing to file for bankruptcy. Pier 1 officials reached Monday by USA TODAY declined to comment. 

In April, Pier 1 announced it could close as many as 145 stores, about 15% of its nearly 1,000 locations. A week later, S&P Global Ratings warned that the “potential for a bankruptcy filing or debt restructuring is continuing to increase” for Pier 1 as its retail performance continues “to deteriorate significantly.”

Then-interim CEO Cheryl Bachelder repeated that “up to 15%” of locations could close on Sept. 25 during a quarterly earnings call with analysts and said officials were working with A&G Realty to “determine the ideal footprint.” 

In Monday’s news release, the company said it is “utilizing the services of a third-party liquidator to help manage the store closings.” What stores will close and a timeline for when the liquidation sales will start wasn’t immediately available.

USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko contributed to this story.

Avi Adkins

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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