Pier 1 Winds Down Operations

Mike Troy
Editorial Director
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Pier 1 Imports

Pier 1 Imports received bankruptcy court approval on May 29 to wind down its operations and begin asset sales, but left open the possibility that the brand will live on digitally should an acquirer emerge.

Inventory liquidations at Pier 1 Imports stores are expected to occur over the summer as the retailer winds down operation after failing to find an acquirer as part of a bankruptcy process that began in February. The company on May 18 announced its intentions to wind down operations and was awaiting court approval after efforts to locate a buyer following the Feb. 17 bankruptcy filing were unsuccessful.

“This is not the outcome we hoped for when we began this process, and we are deeply saddened to move forward with winding down Pier 1,” said CEO and CFO Robert Riesbeck. “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported Pier 1 since the Company’s inception nearly 60 years ago, including our committed associates, passionate customers and talented vendors.”

The Company plans to conclude its liquidation sales by the end of October, but other assets such as intellectual property and its e-commerce business will be sold during a bidding process. The court today set July 1, as the asset bid deadline, July 8, as the auction date and July 15, as the sale hearing date.

The likelihood that Pier 1 Imports will live on digitally is good, given the 58 year old company does enjoy a degree of brand equity, even if it wasn’t able to make a go of things physically. The company’s challenges were many years in the making, but came to a head in early January when the company reported disappointing results for its third quarter ended Nov. 30 and announced plans to close nearly half of its more than 900 stores.

A bankruptcy filing followed in February with the planned goal of finding a buyer for the distressed company. When one failed to materialize by mid-May the company announced plans to wind down.