Pier 1 powers ahead

FORT WORTH, Texas — Pier 1 Imports expressed renewed confidence in its three-year growth plan following the release of third quarter results that same store sales advance 7.9%.

Sales increased 10.9% to $424.5 million, versus $382.7 million in third quarter ended November 26 last year. Profits increased 3% to $23.7 million. Same store sales were up 7.9% during the third quarter on top of last year’s 7.0% gain. Strong comparable store sales results for the period were primarily attributable to increases in store traffic and higher average ticket.

“Our third quarter results represent the 13th consecutive period of growth in comp store sales and earnings per share,” stated Alex W. Smith, president and CEO. “Our team continues to execute well, bringing the Pier 1 Imports customer a highly differentiated assortment of merchandise that keeps her coming back to both our stores and website. This marks the company’s first full quarter of e-commerce sales and we’re pleased with the initial results, as the level of both new and existing customer visits indicates the long-term opportunity is significant. Indeed, we saw very strong traffic at both our stores and Pier1.com during the period, and trends have remained robust thus far in the holiday selling season.”

Pier 1 remains in strong financial condition with $120.8 million of cash and cash equivalents. Inventory totaled $417.5 million, up 13.5% versus the end of last year’s third quarter. The planned increase was primarily due to additional inventory for the company’s new e-commerce business and slightly larger purchases of merchandise in select categories, including seasonal goods, to support higher sales.

“The combination of our sizeable store base and e-commerce capabilities provides us with a powerful platform for growth. We are continuing to build out our multi-channel functionality and believe the business is ideally positioned to achieve the goals laid out in our three-year growth plan. Our board of directors and management greatly appreciate the support of Pier 1 Imports’ shareholders and remain committed to returning value to them. Today, we are announcing our third $100 million share repurchase program, reflecting our confidence in the underlying strength of the business and the significant potential ahead of us. Additionally, we have increased our quarterly cash dividend by 25% to $0.05 per share,” added Smith.