Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (NYSE:PIR) today reported that comparable store sales for the five-week period ended January 4, 2014 increased 1.3% compared to the five-week period ended January 5, 2013. The inclusion of a 53 rd week of operations in fiscal 2013 shifted the Company’s fiscal 2014 calendar back one week, which distorts the comparison of holiday trends. As such, we are presenting comparable store sales for the five weeks ending the first Saturday in calendar January of each respective year. Before adjusting for the calendar shift, comparable store sales for fiscal December 2014 decreased 5.7%, which compares to a comparable store sales increase of 8.2% for the five-week fiscal period ended December 29, 2012.
“We’re extremely disappointed that December sales results came in well below our expectations, especially considering our holiday selling season kicked off with a record post-Thanksgiving weekend,” commented Alex W. Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The disruption caused by wintry weather in the first half of December, which we discussed on our third quarter earnings call, continued to impact us 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 our 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. A strong balance of regular and promotional pricing, together with our customer engagement strategies, drove increased conversion and average ticket during the month, making the best of soft store traffic. Of note, we saw particular strength across our stores business in the southeast, southwest and California, where calendar adjusted comparable store sales increased in the mid-single digits.”
“Our e-Commerce business remained strong and continues to outperform our 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 our omni-channel 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.”