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Another Loss for Pier 1

The company says it will stop giving earnings guidance.
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Pier 1 Imports


posted its second straight quarterly loss Thursday, and the company declined to provide an earnings forecast for the next quarter, citing "near-term unpredictability in the business."

The specialty home furnishing chain posted a second-quarter loss of $10.2 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a profit of $10.4 million, or 12 cents a share, posted in the same quarter last year. Analysts on Wall Street were forecasting a wider loss of 13 cents a share.

The company refused to provide any earnings guidance after reporting its first back-to-back quarterly losses since 1991. It said its uncertainty stemmed from a slow customer response to its new merchandising and marketing initiatives and troubling signs in the macroeconomic environment.

"We responded by conservatively managing the business through cost containments, reducing store openings and taking heavy promotional discounts and markdowns to move slower-selling merchandise to make room for new arrivals," the company said.

It's also launching a new catalog mailed last week to more 3 million U.S. homes, and it plans to send a holiday catalog to more consumers in early November.

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Pier 1's business has been hurt in part by competition as more specialty retailers have entered its space and large discount retailers have broadened their home furnishing lines.

In the second quarter, Pier 1's sales dropped 3% to $438.6 million, while sales at stores open at least a year were down 7.7%.

The chain got a vote of confidence last year when Warren Buffett's

Berkshire Hathaway


disclosed that it purchased a 9% stake. But the trendy home decor chain posted a series of sales and earnings disappointments since then that have dragged its shares down 35% in 2005.

After Thursday's opening bell, the shares were up 5 cents, or 0.4%, to $12.61.