Pier 1 Imports (PIR) - Get Report is projected to post flat third-quarter earnings and lower year-over-year revenue after Wednesday's closing bell, according to analysts.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet are forecasting adjusted earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $466.4 million. During the same quarter a year ago, the Fort Worth, TX-based home decor retailer earned 13 cents per diluted share on revenue of $472.5 million.

Comparable-store sales are expected to fall 1.1% during the most recent fiscal quarter, according to FactSet. Last year, Pier 1 reported a comparable-store sales decline of 0.7%.

The stock is up about 66% over the last three months vs. a 6.8% gain from the S&P 500 during the same time period. The stock has been boosted by the company's positive commentary on the beginning of the key holiday season in mid-November.

"We are seeing strength in all of our holiday categories, which bodes well for both sales and merchandise margin," CEO Alex Smith said at the time. "We are seeing strength in our gross margin - a result of great merchandise, balanced promotional activity and efficiency improvements in the supply chain."

Smith also said that comparable-store sales quarter-to-date through October grew at a low single-digit rate and expects third-quarter results to be at the high end of its previous guided ranges. In August, Pier 1 projected third-quarter earnings per share between 9 cents and 15 cents.

In September, Pier 1 said Smith would step down as CEO on December 31. The company has yet to name a successor.

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"We were encouraged by the company's ability to drive profitable, positive comp growth in September and October, for the first time in several years," Nomura analyst Jessica Schoen Mace said in a recent note.

"Although we acknowledge that November got off to a slow start, we believe that the company likely saw a pickup at the end of the month, consistent with what we have heard from other retailers," she added.

KeyBanc Capital Markets believes the company's improved marketing and cleaner inventory are supporting improvement in comps and merchandise margins. Longer term, the firm said Pier 1 has an opportunity to improve operational efficiency, reduce labor costs and optimize its real estate footprint.

But the firm is concerned about intense competition in the home furnishings sector from traditional and e-commerce players. "PIR results remain pressured by competitive headwinds, higher costs associated with the growth of e-commerce, and deteriorating store traffic trends," KeyBanc said.

In late November, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) - Get Report said it would acquire online retailer PersonalizationMall.com in an effort to expand its e-commerce presence. Meanwhile, online home goods retailer Wayfair (W) - Get Report recently reported that Cyber Monday was its best sales day ever.

Last month, Wayfair also posted better-than-anticipated third quarter results, although disappointed analysts' with its Q4 revenue forecast. Additionally, TJX's (TJX) - Get Report HomeGoods brand had comparable-store sales growth of 6% in its latest quarter, which beat analyst expectations. The company's total comps increase of 5% was driven by higher customer traffic. 

Shares of Pier 1 were little changed at $6.50 in midday trading on Wednesday.

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