FORT WORTH, Texas — With Pier 1 delivering yet another quarter of comps and earnings growth, it's easy to forget that the retailer was once struggling just to make a profit. And much of the credit for Pier 1's turnaround lies with president and CEO Alex Smith. So, it is no surprise that the company has decided to offer Smith a three-year renewal and extension of his employment agreement.
Michael Ferrari, chairman of the board, commented, “Alex has now been with Pier 1 Imports for over five years and under his leadership, has brought the brand back to prominence and positioned the company as one of the leading retailers in the home furnishings industry. We are pleased to have this certainty and are confident that the company will continue to prosper under his leadership.”
For the first quarter, the company reported net income of $17.8 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with last year’s first quarter net income of $14.1 million, or 12 cents per share. Total sales for the first quarter were $361.1 million, a 7.9% increase from $334.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Comparable-store sales increased 7.2% during the first quarter on top of last year’s 10.2% gain. Strong sales results for the period are primarily attributable to increases in store traffic and higher average ticket.
For the fiscal year, the company expects comparable-store sales growth in the mid single-digit range and earnings per share in the range of $1.08 to $1.14, representing year-over-year growth of 15% to 21%, compared with prior guidance of $1.06 to $1.12.
Commenting on the results, Smith said, “We’re pleased with the strong sales and earnings performance we achieved this quarter, as well as the continued expansion of our operating margin. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of our merchandising strategies and in-store execution, as well as strong full-price selling. We are excited about the upcoming launch of our e-commerce site and the opportunity for Pier 1 Imports to capture market share as we continue our evolution into an industry-leading, multi-channel retailer.”
Smith also expressed gratitude for his contract extension and was sure to acknowledge all who helped him make the company what it is today.
“I’m delighted that the chairman and board of directors have given me the opportunity to continue leading our well-loved company. Working together with my outstanding executive team and our talented and enthusiastic associates, I look forward to extending the reach of the Pier 1 Imports brand and achieving the objectives set out in our three-year growth plan.”