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Pier 1 Making Advances And Strategic Investments

For the fourth quarter ended March 2, Pier 1 Imports, Inc. announced that it expects its final earnings per share to be in the 57 cent to 58 cent GAAP and 59 cent to 60 cent non-GAAP range on a 14-week basis compared to $1.04, GAAP, and 48 cents non-GAAP on a 13-week basis in last year’s period. Comparable store sales, calculated on a 13-week basis, increased 7.9% in the fourth quarter year over year.

Total sales for the 14-week fourth quarter gained 15.7% to $552 million versus $477 million in the 13-week period last year, the retailer reported. The company attributed comparable store sales results for the quarter to increases in store traffic and higher average ticket.

For the 53-week fiscal year ended March 2, Pier 1 posted a sales increase of 11.2% to $1.71 billion versus the year prior. Comparable store sales, calculated on a 52-week basis, increased 7.5%.

Wedbush Morgan analyst Joan Storms, in a research note, pointed out that recent flat merchandise margins posted by Pier 1 reflected its strategy of growing the e-commerce business as well as offering more value to customers in stores. The initiative should drive market share gains and gross margin dollars, she said

Storms added, “The company is making strategic longer-term investments in its merchandising team, in-store service levels, and a new POS system. We believe the company’s success has been driven in no small part by its skillful merchandising, and Pier 1 is working to build on that with the recent hiring of new buyers. Additionally, investments in more payroll hours to support sales, more extensive training of associates with respect to product knowledge and the rollout of a new point-of-sale system, while costing incrementally near-term, are all expected to help drive conversion.”

Alex Smith, Pier 1 president and CEO, commented on results, saying, “Our 2013 fiscal year ended strongly, with another quarter of significant growth in sales and earnings. Our talented and dedicated associates continue to do an outstanding job of executing our robust operating and growth strategies. We are confident that fiscal 2014 will be another terrific year as we continue our evolution into a true multi-channel retailer, exploiting the growth potential in our two mutually supportive and interdependent businesses, our wonderful Pier 1 Imports stores and our new, two quarters-old e-commerce business.”