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Pier One: A Farewell to Wicker

FORT WORTH, Texas – Out with its signature wicker wares, in with sleek wood and metal furniture pieces, said Pier 1 Imports during its third quarter earnings call this morning.

Looking to compete in design and quality against popular mass retailers and in price against better catalogs and specialty stores, Pier 1 said it will move forward in 2006 with a new merchandising initiative that drives it away from the wicker and rattan looks it has long been known for and moves it into a more modern, contemporary direction.

Come spring, Pier 1 stores will be stocked with the new merchandise, preceded by a new catalog – the third of its kind since the rollout of the company’s first in September – to 10 million customers.

The company also discussed its holiday sales to date, which have been soft the first two weeks of December but are expected to pick up by end of this month, driven by heavy promotions on decorative items. Pier one reported a third-quarter loss of $7.2 million, reversing a prior-year quarterly profit of $19.5 million. Sales declined by 2.4 percent, to $476.2 million from $487.7 million last year. The make-or-break gauge of same-store sales fell even further, dropping off by 6.5 percent.

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