Pier 1 moves to permanently shut down its stores due to coronavirus

Coronavirus restrictions force Pier 1 to permanently shut down stores

FORT WORTH, Texas — Three months after filing for bankruptcy, Pier 1 Imports Inc. wants to close down its stores for good.

The Texas-based company announced Tuesday in a news release that it has filed a motion in bankruptcy court seeking approval “to begin an orderly wind-down” of its operations as soon as possible after stores closed by coronavirus restrictions are allowed to reopen.

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“This decision follows months of working to identify a buyer who would continue to operate our business going forward,” Pier 1 CEO Robert Riesbeck said in a 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 was founded in San Mateo, California, in 1962. The company has more than 1,000 stores in the United States and Canada.

According to its news release, Pier 1 intends to sell its inventory and remaining assets, including its intellectual property and e-commerce business, through a court-supervised process.

Pier 1′s decision is a reversal in tactics, as the company said it was hoping to restructure, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"It is now clear that Pier 1’s future does not involve any brick-and-mortar retail locations,” the company said in its filing.

The company’s lenders have agreed to let the business overdraw its lending facility by $40 million to help pay for the liquidation process, CNN reported.

Pier 1 has closed nearly half of its locations since last year, according to CNN. In February, the company announced it was closing 450 stores, including all locations in Canada.

Pier 1′s bankruptcy continues the trend of filing by JC Penney, Neiman Marcus and J Crew, which have all filed in recent weeks. Those companies also blamed the pandemic and shifting consumer buying habits as reasons for the filings.

Pier 1 filed court papers with the intent of shuttering its more than 450 stores nationwide.
Pier 1 filed court papers with the intent of shuttering its more than 450 stores nationwide. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)