NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Pier 1 Imports (PIR) plunged more than 12% on Thursday after the company blamed the "wintry weather" as the reason why sales were down 5.7% in December, its biggest selling month of the year.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based company said that comparable store sales for the five-week period ended Jan. 4 rose 1.3% from last year, but that positive number is a result of a shift in the 2013 calendar that added an extra week. Excluding that adjustment, Pier 1 said sales for December actually fell 5.7% compared with a rise of 8.2% a year earlier.
Pier 1 shares were sagging 12.3% to $20.44 on Thursday.
"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," CEO Alex Smith said in a statement on Thursday. "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," Smith added. "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."