Growth

Can Pier 1 Imports sell enough bamboo furniture and scented candles to stay alive?

The struggling Pier 1 Imports, once one of Fort Worth’s most prestigious companies, is going through yet another shakeup after its CEO stepped down this week.

Alasdair B. James, who joined Pier 1 just over a year ago, has been replaced by board member Cheryl A. Bachelder, according to a company news release.

The company, once an extremely popular nationwide retail outlet for exotic items such as bamboo and wicker furniture, scented candles, dishes and holiday decorations, also reported lower than expected earnings for the third quarter.

Pier 1 also has retained Credit Suisse to evaluate strategic alternatives, according to the release, which could include a possible sale.

James arrived at Pier 1 in May 2017, after several years operating KMart as part of Sears Holdings. He promised a “New Day” at Pier 1, including a strategy of cutting costs, and positioning Pier 1’s products for increased sales.

“Clearly the ‘New Day’ strategic plan did not deliver the desired results fast enough,” Bachelder said in a statement. She comes from a background of decades of retail experience including a stint as CEO of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen Inc.

“We will need to promptly narrow our strategic focus and hone our execution in a way that reinvigorates our top-line sales with a distinctive Pier 1 style and value proposition for our customers, while re-engineering our cost structure for sustainable profitability,” Bachelder said. “I look forward to outlining a new action plan in short order.”

On Thursday, Pier 1 reported third quarter net sales of $413.2 million, an 11.9 percent decrease compared to the year before, and a net loss of $50.4 million, or 62 cents per share.

Pier 1 Imports has 873 employees at its glassy downtown Fort Worth headquarters, according to Downtown Fort Worth Inc.

The company also announced that is has secured an additional $50 million in a revolving credit line from Bank of America and Pathlight capital, and planned to reduce expected capital expenditures for fiscal 2019 to $40 million, down from $60 million.

Gordon Dickson joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997. He is passionate about hard news reporting, and his beats include transportation, growth, urban planning, aviation, real estate, jobs, business trends. He is originally from El Paso, and loves food, soccer and long drives.
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