CEO Out at Pier 1 Imports

Second-quarter sales fall 6.7 percent
September 8, 2016David Gill

SmithAlexFULLAlex Smith
FORT WORTH, Texas-Alex Smith will step down as president and CEO of Pier 1 Imports on Dec. 31.

Smith has been president and CEO since February 2007, coming to the post after serving as group president of The TJX Cos.

He will leave as part of a mutual decision reached between him and the Pier 1 board, and also vacate his seat as a director of the board. The board has started a search for his successor, working with executive search firm Korn Ferry.

Smith “led a remarkable turnaround of the business from 2009 to 2013, creating one of the most profitable specialty stores in our sector,” said Terry London, Pier 1’s chairman.

In the company’s 2011, 2012 and 2013 fiscal years—a time in which the nation as a whole was slowly pulling itself out of the Great Recession—Pier 1’s annual sales increased by 8.1 percent, 9.8 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively. In 2014, the retailer reported net sales growth of 3.9 percent, followed by a 5.2 percent gain in fiscal 2015.

The company’s performance has steadily declined since. It ended fiscal 2016 on Feb. 27 with flat net sales, up a scant 0.4 percent.

In a separate statement, Pier 1 said its net sales in the second quarter of fiscal 2017, which ended Aug. 27, dropped 6.7 percent, including a decrease of about 4.3 percent in same-store sales. Pier 1’s first-quarter sales were down 4.2 percent, with same-store sales down 2.5 percent.

London also credited Smith with leading Pier 1’s transformation from a purely brick-and-mortar to an omnichannel retailer. “The company is now well positioned with the infrastructure, capabilities and brand equity to effectively compete in the changing retail environment,” he said.

“Leading the Pier 1 Imports team for nearly 10 years has been a joy,” Smith said. “Our wonderful associates across the organization have inspired me every day. Together we have achieved a great deal of success, sustained by our exceptional culture.”

David GillDavid Gill | Contributing Editor

David Gill is a contributing editor to HFN.

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