Pier 1 Imports wants to close all of its 541 stores, including the four on Long Island, after the COVID-19 pandemic derailed its plans to find a buyer, the home decor retailer said Tuesday.
Pier 1 Imports Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, had been seeking a buyer, in a court-supervised auction, that would continue to operate the business.
“Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment has been significantly compounded by the profound impact of COVID-19, hindering our ability to secure such a buyer and requiring us to wind down,” Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1’s chief executive officer and chief financial officer, said in a statement Tuesday.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday seeking approval to begin a wind-down of the company’s retail operations as soon as stores are allowed to reopen after government-mandated business shutdowns because of the pandemic.
Seeking to sell its assets, Pier 1 has proposed to the court an asset bid deadline of July 1, auction date of July 8 and sale hearing on July 15.
Orders are still being fulfilled through the website, the company said.
Founded in 1962, Pier 1 has been struggling for several years as it lost business to online retailers, such as Amazon and Wayfair, and even big-box home improvement retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.
In January, when Pier 1 had 936 stores, it said it would close up to 450 locations “to better align its business with the current operating environment.”
Among the stores closed were eight on Long Island — in Bay Shore, Bohemia, Carle Place, Commack, Huntington Station, Long Beach, New Hyde Park and Riverhead.
The four remaining Long Island stores are in Freeport, Lake Grove, Massapequa Park and Rocky Point.
Some of Pier 1’s issues were due to its “confused branding,” wrong store locations and unwisely focusing on discounting, which produced weak sales numbers, Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at GlobalData, a Manhattan-based market research firm, wrote in comments on the company Tuesday.
“Despite its middle-market price points and offer, a good number of Pier 1’s stores are in strip malls with a value focus where off-price retailers and discounters pull in footfall. … Years of targeting the wrong customer, wrong competitors and wrong store locations made the retailer increasingly irrelevant and will now cast it into oblivion,” Saunders wrote.