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Pier 1 Imports files for bankruptcy protection

The Huntington Station Pier 1 Imports is on

The Huntington Station Pier 1 Imports is on a list of store closings announced last month. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Pier 1 Imports filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, six weeks after the home decor retailer said it would close up to 450 stores — about half its fleet.

The struggling chain also is seeking a buyer in a court-supervised auction.

Bank of America N.A., Wells Fargo National Association and Pathlight Capital LP have committed about $256 million in debtor-in-possession financing to Pier 1, the Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer said in a statement Monday. 

Pier 1 expects the financing and cash flow from operations to allow it to continue to operate and undergo a sale through the bankruptcy process, the chain said.

“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. We are moving ahead in this process with the support of our lenders and are pleased with the initial interest as we engage in discussions with potential buyers,” Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1’s CEO and chief financial officer, said in a statement.

Pier 1 listed $426.6 million in assets and $258.3 million in debts in its bankruptcy filing, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. 

On Jan. 6, the retailer said it would be closing up to 450 stores “to better align its business with the current operating environment.” The chain said Monday that those closing stores would include all locations in Canada.

Pier 1 did not release a list of closing stores, but a Melville company, A&G Real Estate Partners, that was hired to help the chain “with its store portfolio rationalization program and lease renegotiations,” posted the list of closing stores on its website. 

The list includes eight Long Island stores — in Bay Shore, Bohemia, Carle Place, Commack, Huntington Station, Long Beach, New Hyde Park and Riverhead. 

The Bohemia store closed Jan. 28. Most of the rest will close in April, Long Island real estate agency and store representatives told Newsday last month.

After the eight Pier 1 stores close on Long Island, there will be four left in the area — in Freeport, Lake Grove, Massapequa Park and Rocky Point.

Founded in 1962, Pier 1 has been struggling for several years as it loses business to online retailers, such as Amazon and Wayfair, and even big-box home improvement retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Sales at Pier 1 stores open at least one year declined 11.4% in its third fiscal quarter, which ended Nov. 30, compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the retailer's earnings results released Jan. 6.

Pier 1 had a net loss of $59 million during the quarter.

The chain operated 942 stores as of Nov. 30, but now has 923 stores, according to a court filing.

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