Pier 1 Paves Way For Additional Closures, Extends Furloughs

With the COVID-19 pandemic and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing continuing to pressure the business, Pier 1 Imports is extending employee furloughs and continuing pay reductions even as it has been mailing conditional notices to staffers in its home office, customer relations call center and distribution and fulfillment centers about potential operations closures as it moves to meet requirements of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

The notices begin a 60-day period Pier 1 must provide prior to closing certain business locations under the WARN Act, the company noted. However, Pier 1 added that the company has not yet made a final determination to permanently close business locations beyond those addressed in prior announcements, and is awaiting developments. Delivery of the notices at this time gives the company additional flexibility as it evaluates a path forward.

The extension applies to furloughs announced on March 24 for 65% of home office employees and certain store and distribution workers. It now designates the employment actions as continuing until further notice. The company also will maintain the pay reductions, implemented on March 23, until further notice.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be far-reaching and unpredictable, and the actions announced today are intended to create flexibility for the company as we work to determine the best path forward for Pier 1,” said Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1 CEO and CFO. “The board and leadership team are making every effort to achieve the best outcome for our company and our stakeholders in our court-supervised process. Our associates have always been one of our most important assets, and we thank them for their continued commitment to our company and our customers.”

Pier1 continues to operate its e-commerce site but stores remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the company indicated that it would continue to follow the guidelines of government and health officials.

As announced in February, Pier 1 commenced voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to pursue a sale of the company.