Doors still open in Red Deer as Pier 1 Import’s problems climb

Pier 1 Imports remained open on Monday in Red Deer when its American parent company filed for bankruptcy protection after years of sliding sales.

All questions by the Advocate about the future of the store at 50th Strret were directed to the company’s media relations department, which did not immediately respond Monday.

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 Imports Inc. — the once-trendy supplier of home goods like papasan chairs and throw pillows — has experienced a period of declining 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In a 2018 presentation to investors, the company acknowledged that shoppers thought its merchandise was outdated and expensive.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.

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