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Pier 1 wraps up Q3 on high note

Fort Worth, Texas - It's a jolly holiday season for Pier 1 Imports, as the home furnishings chain kicked off its e-commerce business and saw all of its categories hum along nicely, especially furniture. The result: double-digit increases in net income and sales as well as a robust boost in comps.

"Our third quarter results represent the 13th consecutive period of growth in comp store sales and earnings per share," said Alex Smith, president and ceo.

Smith noted the third quarter marked the first full quarter of e-commerce sales, "and we're pleased with the initial results, as the level of both new and existing customer visits indicates the long-term opportunity is significant. Indeed, we saw very strong traffic at both our stores and during the period, and trends have remained robust thus far in the holiday selling season."

Excluding the estimated impact of Hurricane Sandy on its business, Pier 1's adjusted net income rose 3.0% to $27.0 million, or 25 cents per share. Including the storm's impacts, net income was $23.7 million, or 22 cents per share.

Total sales jumped 10.9% to $424.5 million, and comparable store sales increased 7.9% driven by increases in store traffic and higher average ticket.

Net income for the first nine months ballooned 26.1% to $67.7 million, or 62 cents per share, including impacts from the storm.

Year-to-date sales increased 9.1% to $1.153 billion, and comparable store sales rose 7.3% on top of last year's 9.2% increase.

While the company did not break out the early results of its website from total sales, Smith offered some highlights.

"Traffic increased, up in high double digits, with about 1 million visit per week," he said. "And customers purchased over 90% of the available items."

More than 35% of online orders were delivered to neighborhood Pier 1 stores for the in-store pickup program

"We're expanding our online database, adding existing shoppers as well as those new to the Pier 1 experience," Smith continued. "And the [e-commerce site's] influence is profound, with 25% of customers browsing the e-commerce site before visiting the store, and we expect number to grow."

But he warned the company is taking a measured approach to the site's growth and development.

"Remember: Crawl, walk, run," Smith said during Pier 1's earnings call this morning.

Still, encouraged by's initial success, Smith said the combination of the company's sizeable store base with the new e-commerce capabilities "provides us with a powerful platform for growth."


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