Pier 1 Sinks Despite Bottom-Line Beat

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When Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR) released its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Wednesday, the company posted $0.34 in earnings per share (EPS) and $528.4 million in revenue. Consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for $0.33 in EPS and revenue of $529.83 million. In the same period of last year, the retailer reported EPS of $0.23 and $542.33 million in revenue.

During the quarter, net sales decreased 2.6% as the average number of stores declined by roughly 3%. At the same time, comparable sales increased only 0.2%. However, e-commerce sales increased 28% over last year’s numbers.

In terms of guidance for the fiscal first quarter, the company expects comparable sales growth between 1% and 2%, net sales to be flat to up 1%, and a net loss per share of $0.07 to $0.03. The consensus estimates are a net loss of $0.02 per share and $421.25 million in revenue.

As previously announced, the board of directors named Alasdair James as the new president and chief executive officer. He will take over effective the beginning of May.

On the books, the company had $154.5 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter, up from $115.2 million in the same period from last year.

Terry E. London, interim president and CEO, commented:

We are pleased to conclude the year with strong fourth quarter results. We gained momentum in the second half of the year, as our initiatives to drive improved financial performance took hold. Notably, we strengthened our top-line trend, highlighted by positive company comparable sales, improved merchandise margins, controlled operational costs and increased profitability. Our omni-channel platform is enabling us to compete effectively in a challenging environment and positions us to deliver long-term success and increased shareholder value.

Shares of Pier 1 were last seen down 8% at $6.67, with a consensus analyst price target of $6.86 and a 52-week trading range of $3.73 to $9.68.