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Pier 1 stays positive despite negative quarter


FORT WORTH, Texas Pier 1 Imports reported a net loss of $36.9 million, or 41 cents per share, for the third quarter, versus $10 million, or 11 cents per share, for the same period last year. According to the company, EBITDA before special charges was negative $20 million, in line with Pier 1's previous guidance of negative $16 million to $20 million.

Total sales for the third fiscal quarter declined to $301 million from $374 million in the year-ago quarter. Comparable-store sales for the quarter declined 17.8%, which is in line with the previous guidance.

Alex Smith, the company’s president and ceo, did his best to put a positive spin on the negative numbers, noting, “In this environment, those external to our Company will naturally focus on raw numbers, which from a sales and income perspective are extremely disappointing, but not a surprise. That said, we know our merchandise offering and in-store experience are significantly better than last year. I am very pleased with what our team has delivered, and in any normal environment, we would have been rewarded at the cash register.

Smith, however, was realistic about the company's future.  “We had planned to complete the first phase of our turnaround and to return Pier 1 Imports to profitability in fiscal 2010, and until August, we were well on our way. This recession has obviously slowed our speed and increased our timeline, and some of our tactics may change, but our overall strategy remains the same. We remain very optimistic about the future prospects for the brand.”

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