Pier 1 Imports, the home décor and accessories retailer, announced May 19 that it plans to wind-down the company’s retail operations as soon as reasonably possible. It hopes that the process can begin after existing store locations are able to reopen once the mandated closings because of the COVID-19 pandemic end.
The company’s case is being handled in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Pier 1 is seeking court approval to begin ending its brick-and-mortar operations and sell its inventory and remaining assets. That would include its intellectual property and e-commerce business. It is asking for the court to supervise the process.
Pier 1 previously closed many of its retail locations including the Westchester locations in Bedford Hills, Larchmont, Mohegan Lake, Port Chester and White Plains.
Stores in Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Middletown, Spring Valley and Yonkers in New York, and Fairfield, Milford and Southbury in Connecticut, had remained open but subsequently had to be temporarily closed when the business shutdown and social distancing measures went into effect to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1’s CEO and CFO said, “This decision follows months of working to identify a buyer who would continue to operate our business going forward. 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.”
The company said its financial and legal advisers “engaged in a thorough analysis of all available alternatives prior to deciding on this course of action.”
Pier 1 intends to initiate store closing efforts and liquidation sales once store locations can reopen, in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines from local government and health officials. The company said it is currently continuing to serve customers through Pier1.com and orders are being processed and filled.
The company has proposed July 1 as the asset bid deadline, July 8 as the auction date and July 15 as the sale hearing date.
On Feb. 17 of this year, Pier 1 Imports Inc. announced that it had reached a plan support agreement with a majority of its term loan lenders and was pursuing a sale of the company. Voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings were started. It said it had received a commitment for debtor-in-possession financing from the Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Pathlight Capital LP amounting to approximately $256 million.
The company’s headquarters are in Fort Worth. It started with one store in San Mateo, California, in 1962 and grew to more than 1,000 locations in North America and is a public company. Its stock had been trading at above $14 a share about a year ago. On May 14 it was trading at about 43 cents a share.