Wedbush Morgan Upgrades Pier 1 Imports to 'Buy'

Analyst Joan Storms says the home-furnishing retailer's February store sales beat her expectations

Wedbush Morgan upgraded Pier 1 Imports (PIR ) to buy from hold.

Analyst Joan Storms says February comp-store sales exceeded guidance, as she expected. She notes the home-furnishing retailer saw traffic and transaction trends accelerate across all merchandise lines and geographic areas.

Storms sees several near-term catalysts for Pier 1, including an early positive customer response to new spring merchandise, the potential for a new marketing campaign with designer Thom Filicia, and incremental merchandise introductions. Long term, she cites Pier 1's seasoned management team and its overall merchandise excellence.

Storms sees 55 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, and $1.31 for fiscal 2004 (Feb), as well as $1.56 in fiscal 2005. She set a $30 target.

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