Pier 1 Imports is shutting down the last of its stores for good, it announced on Tuesday. The company filed for bankruptcy back in February, and the coronavirus pandemic has only made things worse for the home decor retailer. The company's CEO and Chief Financial Officer Robert Riesbeck issued a statement this week confirming that Pier 1 will soon be closed permanently.
Pier 1 Imports has been a staple in the retail landscape for years, but it has also been on a downward spiral at that time as well. The company had 540 stores in operation when it closed for the coronavirus pandemic back in February, with no guarantee that any of them would open again. Now, it is at least hoping for "an orderly wind-down" to its business, depending on what the bankruptcy court decides. That means any stores that re-open when their states allow will do so just to sell off the remainder of their inventory.
"This decision follows months of working to identify a buyer who would continue to operate our business going forward," Riesbeck said in a public statement. "Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment has been significantly compounded by the profound impact of COVID-19, hindering our ability to secure such a buyer and requiring us to wind down."
Pier 1 wants a chance to sell off its remaining inventory, its intellectual property and any other assets through a court-supervised process. So far, there is no official word on how many stores would re-open, if any, and when. In most places around the U.S., Pier 1 still qualifies as a non-essential business and is not allowed to open due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pier 1 Imports first opened in 1962, and soon expanded into a national chain. As the company's about-us page on its website reads: "Our first customers were post-World War II baby boomers looking for beanbag chairs, love beads and incense. Pier 1 has carried a wide selection of merchandise through the years, from chocolate-covered ants to clothing lines to life-size Spanish suits of armor."
Pier 1 was on its way to cutting its number of locations in half when before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Over the years, the store has struggled to keep up with competitors like TJ Maxx, and particularly with big box stores like Target and Walmart. More recently, it has fallen behind online retailers like Amazon and Wayfair. Beyond announcing the news publicly, Pier 1 has not offered any details on how and when it will shut down its 540 stores.