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Pier 1 Mum on NYSE Inquiry

Fort Worth, Texas – Pier 1 Imports said it was notified by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) of unusual trading activity in the company's stock on Nov. 14. In response, the company only said, "The NYSE has asked the company to respond by press release to the unusual activity. The company's policy is not to comment on market rumors or speculation including unusual market activity."

Pier 1 had issued a special statement in early October to clarify — to deny, in effect — quotes made by chairman and ceo Marvin Girouard and published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram to the effect that the company's board of directors was close to a sale price with a strategic buyer. The company at that time said, "Pier 1 makes no prediction whatsoever as to when, if ever, Pier 1's board will reach an agreement with respect to a proposed transaction."

In May 2006, the company announced that it had retained JPMorgan to explore strategic alternatives. Last March, HTT reported that Pier 1 had sold its United Kingdom and Ireland operating division to Dutch retail investor Jakup a Dul Jacobsen for "approximately $15 million," and that Jacobsen had purchased 9.9% of Pier 1 in January 2006.

The home furnishings specialty retailer recorded $1.78 billion in sales for fiscal 2006 (ended Feb. 25, 2006), down 2.7% from $1.82 billion the previous year, with a comp-store drop of 7.1%. The company reported a fiscal 2006 net loss from continuing operations of $27.5 million or $0.32 per share.

In its most recent monthly note, the company reported year-to-date sales of $1.0 billion, down 8.7% from $1.1 billion for the same period last year, and a comparable store sales decline of 11.1%.

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