Pier 1 Shares Tumble on CEO’s Retirement, Wider Quarterly Loss

Pier 1 Imports Inc. shares fell the most in nearly nine months after the home-furnishings retailer said its second-quarter loss would be wider than expected and Chief Executive Officer Alex Smith announced plans to retire at the end of the year.

Recruiting firm Korn Ferry is helping search for a replacement for Smith, who has been CEO since February 2007, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company said in a statement after the close of regular trading Wednesday.

Pier 1 has struggled to keep sales growing without resorting to deep discounts that hurt its profitability. Smith said the company has employed a “balanced promotional strategy” that helped it increase margins. Still, “ongoing store traffic challenges” took a toll on sales and earnings last quarter, he said.

Comparable-store sales fell 4.3 percent in the period through last month, the company said Wednesday in a preliminary earnings statement. The loss was about 5 cents to 6 cents a share, excluding some items. Analysts had estimated a 3-cent loss. Pier 1 is scheduled to report full second-quarter results on Sept. 28.

The shares slipped as much as 19 percent to $3.90, the biggest intraday decline since December 2015. Pier 1 already was down 5.7 percent this year through the close on Wednesday.

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