Pittsfield's Pier 1 Imports store to close

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PITTSFIELD Struggling national retailer Pier 1 Imports is closing almost half of its 942 stores, including the Pittsfield outlet.

Store closing signs could be seen in the windows of the outlet on Thursday. Pier 1's media relations department did not return a telephone call or an email from The Eagle seeking comment.

Founded with one location in 1962, the retailer of home goods operates 18 total stores in Massachusetts and also has an outlet in Clifton Park, N.Y.

Pier 1 is planning to close 450 stores, shutter some distribution centers, lay off employees at its corporate headquarters in Forth Worth, Texas, and reduce corporate spending, according to several media reports. The company is also planning to file for bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg.

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"Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision," said Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1's CEO and chief financial officer, in a statement that accompanied the firm's third quarter financial results that were released on Monday.

Riesbeck said Pier 1 was making these reductions "to better align its business with the current operating environment."

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He said the moves would enable Pier 1 to "move forward" with an "appropriately sized store footprint and operating structure" as an "omni-channel retailer" that would better position the company to "meet our customers where they shop."

Pier 1's net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2020 dropped 13.3 percent to $358.4 million compared with $413 million during the third quarter of fiscal 2019. Company comparable sales dropped 11.4 percent compared with the same time period last year. The company's net sales for the 39 weeks that ended Nov. 30, 2019 were $977.3 million, a decrease of 14.3 percent from the same time period in fiscal 2019.

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Last fall, Pier 1 announced that it could close up to 145 stores over the coming months.

The changing retail landscape has forced several national and regional retailers to close their Berkshire County outlets in recent years including Macy's, Sears, J.C. Penney, Payless Shoe Stores, Old Navy, Eastern Mountain Sports, RadioShack and Kmart.

National retailers announced 9,300 store closings in 2019, breaking the previous record of roughly 8,000 store closures in 2018, according to an analysis done by Business Insider.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.


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