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Free shipping promotions help Pier 1 grow online

December 20, 2016 12:25 PM
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Free shipping offers and in-store pickup are helping to boost online sales for home furnishings retail chain Pier 1 Imports Inc.

Pier 1, No. 124 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, reported online sales of $97.4 million during the third quarter of fiscal 2017, up 28% from $76.1 million last year. Online accounted for about 20% of total sales during the quarter ended Nov. 26, compared with about 16% last year.

Pier 1 did not break out an online sales figure for the first nine months of its fiscal 2017, but it did report that online accounts for about 20% of its sales, compared with about 17% last year. Based on total sales of $1.300 billion through the first nine months of fiscal 2017 and $1.350 billion through the first nine months of fiscal 2016, that would mean Pier 1 has generated $260.0 million in online sales so far this fiscal year, up 13.3% from $229.5 million last year.

“We believe our free shipping promotions help to drive healthy e-commerce sales as our customers increasingly shop Pier 1 Imports both online and in-store, choosing whichever channel suits their purchasing decision on any given day,” Pier 1 president and CEO Alex Smith told analysts on Pier 1’s Q3 2017 earnings call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. Pier1.com currently requires a $49 purchase to qualify for free shipping. A Pier 1 representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment about the company’s previous free shipping threshold.

Smith told analysts that stores have been integral in Pier 1’s online sales growth.

“If you look at the totality of our business and you look at our e-com business, more than a third of it is picked up in-store,” said Smith, who will be stepping aside at the end of this calendar year, a move announced in September.

The retail chain announced last week that board chairman Terry London will take Smith’s place as CEO on an interim basis. London has been chairman of Pier 1’s board since June 2012. The company has not announced a timeline to install a permanent CEO. London says the company is working with executive search firm Korn Ferry to identify candidates.

For the third quarter ended Nov. 26, Pier 1 reported:

  • Net sales of $475.9 million, down less than 1% from $478.0 million last year.
  • A comparable-store sales gain of 1.8%.
  • Net income of $13.6 million, up 24.8% from $10.9 million.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2017, Pier 1 reported:

  • Net sales of $1.300 billion, down 3.7% from $1.350 billion last year.
  • A comparable sales decline of 1.5%.
  • Net income of $3.5 million, down 83.3% from $21.0 million. 
 

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