- Pier 1 Imports is struggling to keep up with competitors like Amazon, Walmart, and TJ Maxx.
- In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Pier 1 said that its comparable sales declined 8.2%. The brand expects to report another sales drop of 11.4% when it releases earnings on October 3.
- Part of why the retailer has struggled is that its products don’t necessarily reflect the latest trends, and its stores are too overwhelming for shoppers, according to CEO Alasdair B. James.
- James explained the brand’s plans to fix these issues during a recent earnings call.
As companies like Amazon, Walmart, TJ Maxx, and Wayfair continue to expand into home goods, it’s getting harder for Pier 1 Imports to compete.
“For non-shoppers, shoppers that are very engaged in this category, but don’t currently shop with Pier 1, and for some of our less core customers, they describe our stores as being overwhelming,” CEO Alasdair B. James said in an April 2018 analyst meeting.
Referring to the products stocked at Pier 1, he said: “They don’t necessarily always reflect the latest trends, or if they do, we don’t buy into those trends quickly and aggressively enough.”
Analysts have criticized the retailer for not stocking enough unique inventory.
GlobalData Retail’s Neil Saunders wrote in an email to Retail Dive in April: “While the market is growing, so too is competition. As much as it is true that Pier 1’s aesthetic used to make it distinct, others are now replicating this — at least in parts of their offers.”
In the company’s most recent earnings call in June, James explained how the brand plans to combat these issues by rebranding Pier 1 and offering more trendy pieces that would appeal to millennials. He also discussed the importance of improving the shopping experience in-store. The retailer is currently testing new store formats that have wider aisles and less clutter in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
We recently visited a Pier 1 Imports store in New York City and found many of the critiques of the brand to be true. Here’s what we found:
We went to the Pier 1 Imports store on the Upper East Side.
At the front of the store were Halloween products, all of which were 25% off.
Most of the first floor was seasonal decor. The furniture and decor in stock definitely seemed more traditional than trendy.