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Rough Christmas Coming for Pier 1

The company meets estimates in its third quarter but guides the fourth down.
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Pier 1's

(PIR) - Get n.a. Report

third-quarter earnings inched up from a year ago on a 10% rise in overall sales, but the company is struggling with weak traffic in the current quarter and earnings will fall well short of estimates.

The wicker furniture retailer earned $32.2 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $482.4 million in the latest quarter, compared with earnings of $31.1 million, or 33 cents a share, on sales of $438.5 million last year. Same-store sales rose 1.6%.

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Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of 35 cents a share on sales of $482.5 million.

Pier 1 expects to earn 52 cents to 58 cents a share on same-store sales that are unchanged to down 5% in the current fourth quarter, which goes to the end of February. Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 64 cents a share.

"Sales continue to build each week in December and we still have over 50% of the month's business ahead of us. However, so far this month traffic has been weak throughout the country, and has been further impacted by snowstorms in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions," it said.

Same-store sales for December will be down 4% to 8%.

The shares closed Monday at $22.51 and weren't doing any volume in Tuesday's premarket.