Pier 1 president and CEO Alex W. Smith expressed extreme disappointment over the company’s December sales results, which came in well below expectations despite having kicked off the holiday selling season with a record post-Thanksgiving weekend.
The disruption caused by wintry weather in the first half of December, which the company addressed in its third quarter earnings call, continued to affect its results throughout the balance of the month and into January. Store traffic in key markets was significantly affected by adverse weather in fiscal December, with the majority of the days concerned falling on all-important weekends.
“Our holiday assortments were excellent and our execution both in-store and online was first class — making it all the more upsetting to have our results impacted by forces beyond our control,” said Smith.
The company’s comparable store sales for the five-week period ended Jan. 4 increased 1.3% compared to the five-week period ended Jan. 5, 2013.
The company’s e-commerce business remained strong for the period, however, and continues to outperform the company’s expectations, generating approximately 4% of total sales in fiscal December. In fact, the sales contribution from Pier1.com was substantially higher in weather-impacted areas and reflects the increasing importance of the company’s omnichannel strategy, 1 Pier 1.
“Once again we reached new monthly highs in terms of both traffic and conversion through Pier1.com, with the site averaging 2.2 million visitors per week in December,” added Smith.