Retail

Pier 1 Plans Sale As It Goes Bankrupt

Pier 1 Imports

Troubled home-décor chain Pier 1 Imports has plans to sell the company as it applies for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and shutters as many as 450 stores — nearly half of its locations, according to reports on Monday (Feb.17).

The Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer franchise said it filed for chapter 11 protection Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia. Pier 1 said there will be a court-supervised bankruptcy sale of the company unless discussions with potential buyers work out.

Qualified bids for the 51-year-old home-décor and furnishing company will be submitted on or around March 23, pending court approval.

“Today’s actions are intended to provide Pier 1 with additional time and financial flexibility as we now work to unlock additional value for our stakeholders through a sale of the company,” Pier 1 CEO Robert Riesbeck said. “We are moving ahead in this process with the support of our lenders and are pleased with the initial interest as we engage in discussions with potential buyers.”

Riesbeck replaced Cheryl Bachelder as chief executive officer in November. 

“The company expects to operate its business in the normal course during this process,” Pier 1 said in its statement.

Its customers will still be able to shop with the company, both at the stores that remain open and online.

Before filing, Pier 1 worked out an agreement with most lenders, who had overall committed to extending $256 million in debtor-in-possession financing. The bankruptcy financing from lenders including Bank of America N.A., Wells Fargo National Association and Pathlight Capital LP will allow the company to operate while finalizing sales.

Court papers showed that Pier 1 valued its assets at $426.6 million and listed total debt of $258.3 million. Its largest shareholders are Charles Schwab Investment Management and Dimensional Fund Advisors LLP.  

Pier 1 posted declining sales for nine consecutive quarters and outsized debt load. 

Pier 1 announced in January that it was planning to close nearly half of its 942 locations.

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