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Pier 1 back to the treasure hunt   

New York – Pier 1 Imports is infusing about 2,000 new skus into its stores and changing store layouts to accommodate its customers’ shopping preferences.

“Over the coming months you will see the store transform into a more departmentalized layout as opposed to lifestyle themes,” said president and ceo Alex Smith at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference yesterday. “It makes for an easier shopping experience and we know that our customers prefer it.”

The new goods and layouts come in the wake of the 1,109-unit specialty chain’s $30 million liquidation effort. “We aggressively liquidated the modern craftsman merchandise, both in our stores and through a third party. It cost us a huge amount of money…but it was absolutely necessary, as this merchandise was just about as far as it could be from our core positioning,” said Smith – noting that customers are finding the new merchandise to be “more Pier 1.”

Some examples include new categories such as Halloween items, bath and body goods and toys, as well as more emphasis on some “core” departments like candles, tabletop, wicker furniture and “those famous” paper lanterns – which are making a comeback after a temporary absence.

“We’re managing to recapture the treasure hunt feel and the thrill of the bazaar and the special find -- all the things that make you smile,” said Smith. He added that the retailer is actively seeking a new head of marketing.

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