To profitability and beyond at Pier 1 Imports

After being left for dead four years ago, Pier 1 Imports has recuperated fully to the point where it recently embarked on a new three-year plan to restore growth to the company.

Key elements of the plan call for the acceleration of e-commerce, improvements to existing stores, new store expansion and investments in infrastructure to support the enterprise and improve efficiency.

“We have numerous opportunities to profitably increase the reach of the Pier 1 Imports brand,” said president and CEO Alex Smith. “With an outstanding management team, the strength of our brand and our rigorous capital discipline, we are focused on developing our company into a best-in-class multi-channel retailer.”

That means getting serious about online, an area where the company has been a laggard. It was only last fall that Pier 1 launched in-store merchandise availability on its site and now the next phase calls for the launch this spring of a site-to-store type service called Pier 1.2Go that allows for orders place online to be picked up in stores. That will be followed in mid-2012 by the Pier 1.2You service, which allows customers to have merchandise shipped to their home.

With regard to stores, the emphasis will be on improvement to existing units as opposed to dramatic square-footage expansion. The company plans to pursue a range of store improvement initiatives over the course of the next three years that will affect 90% of its 1,046 stores. Meanwhile, over the