At Pier 1, A Search For Lost Cachet

After a slew of bad news, the chain has no clear recovery plan

Pier 1 CEO Marvin J. Girouard probably won't forget Aug. 4. That's the day Pier 1 Imports Inc., the nation's largest purveyor of decorative home furnishings and accessories, shocked Wall Street with a pile of bad news: It was ditching plans for a much-anticipated acquisition, the chain's well-regarded chief financial officer had abruptly quit, and July same-store sales tumbled nearly 10%. The stock market was already closed when Pier 1 made its announcement, but there was still plenty of time for Girouard to field angry calls from shareholders. Arriving home about 10:30 that night, Girouard lamented to his wife that he had just had the second-worst day in his 24 years at Pier 1. What was his worst? she asked. His answer: "Tomorrow."

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