Pier 1 plans wind down as coronavirus pandemic stalls search for buyer

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Home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports said Tuesday it is seeking bankruptcy court approval to wind down its business entirely after it was not able to find a buyer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It said in a press release that it plans to sell its inventory and remaining assets, including its intellectual property and online operations.

Pier 1 said it will commence the winding down of its business “as soon as reasonably possible,” once its stores are able to reopen to liquidate.

“This decision follows months of working to identify a buyer who would continue to operate our business going forward,” CEO Robert Riesbeck said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment has been significantly compounded by the profound impact of COVID-19, hindering our ability to secure such a buyer and requiring us to wind down.”

Pier 1, based in Forth Worth, Texas, had filed for bankruptcy protection in February, before the coronavirus crisis slammed the U.S. economy and forced thousands of stores to shut. At the time, the company was planning to shut roughly half of its locations, or about 450 shops, permanently. Meantime, it was looking for a buyer for the remaining business.

But the pandemic has taken a toll on many in retail. So far, high-end department store chain Neiman Marcus, apparel maker J.Crew, rural chain Stage Stores and mall icon J.C. Penney have filed for bankruptcy in recent weeks. Stage Stores has said it will liquidate all of its stores if it’s unable to find a buyer as well.

Online furniture companies such as Wayfair have also been eating into Pier 1′s sales.

Pier 1 said Tuesday that its debtor-in-possession lenders have agreed to allow the retailer to overdraw its DIP facility by roughly $40 million to support its efforts to liquidate.

Posted by CNBC

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