Pier 1's Ship Comes In

Even a $20 million trading loss won't spoil a boffo year

It's the kind of timing that makes a CEO want to weep. On Jan. 4, as most retailers posted their worst December sales figures since the 1990-91 recession, Pier 1 Imports Inc., the nation's largest seller of home furnishings and accessories, announced sales gains far higher than those of most retailers. But that rosy performance has gone all but unnoticed. Instead, the chain has been caught up in a wave of adverse publicity over a $20 million loss it announced on Dec. 26, which is widely believed to be the result of inappropriate trading by high-profile money manager S. Jay Goldinger. The financial fiasco, says Pier 1 CEO Clark A. Johnson, "was certainly the Grinch that stole an otherwise fantastic Christmas."

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