Pier 1 gets OK to liquidate

Marianne Wilson
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The end is in sight for the 58-year-old Pier 1 Imports. 

The struggling home goods retailer, which filed for bankruptcy protection in February, on Friday was granted permission from a federal judge to begin winding down its retail operations as soon as “reasonably” possible after its stores reopen for going-out-of-business sales following closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, Pier 1 has reopened some 245 of its 540 locations, with the remaining to reopen as allowed by local mandates. 

The company, which was founded in 1962 with a single store, expects to finish its store liquidation sales by October. An auction for Pier 1’s intellectual property is slated for July 8,

“No one is a winner today – we failed a lot of people,” said Josh Sussberg of Kirkland & Ellis, the firm representing Pier 1 in bankruptcy court. “It’s frankly an awful day for Pier 1 that nobody wanted.”

Pier 1’s bankruptcy filing was not unexpected and followed nine consecutive quarters of sales declines amid increased competition from the likes of Wayfair and Amazon, off-pricers such as Home Goods and traditional retailers, notably Walmart and Target, which have both expanded their home décor offerings. 

Sales in Pier 1’s most recent quarter fell 13% to $358 million as store traffic dropped. The company also reported a net loss of $59 million for the quarter, which ended Nov. 30.