Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Pier 1 Laments Decline of the 'Casual Shopper'

Pier 1 Imports Inc. plunged 20 percent after the furniture chain cut its forecast, citing a decline in “casual” in-store shoppers.

The company now expects annual earnings of 42 cents to 46 cents, down from a previous forecast of as much as 64 cents, according to a statement Wednesday. Third-quarter sales and profit also fell short of analysts’ estimates.

Pier 1, known for its papasan chairs and home accents, gave its outlook after a slow start to the holiday season. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company also is facing more competition to cut prices.

“The decline of the casual in-store shopper continues to challenge us,” Chief Executive Officer Alex W. Smith said in the statement.

The shares fell to $4.75 at the close of trading on Thursday in New York, their biggest decline in 10 months. Even before the tumble, the stock was down 61 percent this year.

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