The hearth of home accents, the go-to for colorful glassware and the hub of eclectic lampshades will soon bid us goodbye. On May 19, Pier 1 Imports, which has been in business for 58 years, officially declared that it will be permanently closing all stores.
This may seem like another COVID-19 business casualty — in a way, it may be. Pier 1 Imports had filed for bankruptcy protection back in February, in hopes that this would slow down their financial nose-dive and give them time to attract a buyer. Unfortunately, Pier 1 Imports never really got a fair chance on the market, as the coronavirus pandemic hit in early March. As we are all aware, the pandemic has, and will continue to have, lasting effects on the economy. In the current fiscal environment, not many people are looking to buy a struggling company. Therefore, Pier 1 Imports decided that their long run as a home furnishings and decor champion must end.
While the Texas-based company’s recent situation has not been pretty, Pier 1 Imports used to be a huge presence in the retail market. The first store opened in 1962 under the name “Cost Plus Imports”. The store quickly became known as a hotspot for decorative furnishings and unusual patterns, and thus the company expanded. At its prime, Pier 1 Imports had 1,200 stores to its name. Gen X-ers loved their new store chain, one that was perfect for decorating their new college apartment. During its 40th anniversary in 2002, the company marketed its products with one theme: “from hippie to hip”. The customers ate it up!
And yet, the retail market is ever-changing; Pier 1 Imports never adapted properly. Mistakenly disregarding its true competitors, Pier 1 Imports did not understand — and therefore grossly underestimated — the bargain-hunting eyes of its customers. The company’s internal perception of product value was skewed. New customers became far more likely to shop at Target than Pier 1 Imports. This, compounded with powerful online furnishing markets found in companies such as Wayfair and Amazon, weakened Pier 1 Imports to the point of no return.
The company now has 540 stores across the nation. Of course, because of the coronavirus, none of them are open at the moment. Yet, when they do open, you can expect large clearance sales — because everything must go. Pier 1 Imports is looking to liquidate all their products through other sellers if they have items left over, and then eventually sell its e-commerce website. The company asked the bankruptcy court for an “orderly wind-down”, so that’s what we can expect in these upcoming months.
For now, check out its website. You can find products up to 40% off with free shipping over $49. Splurge a little this Memorial Day Weekend and shop at Pier 1 Imports — it may be one of the last times you will be able to do so.