Furniture retailers get boost from Pier 1 report

Furniture retailer stocks rise after Pier 1 shows shoppers are ready to buy at full price

Associated Press

A number of furniture retailers are sitting pretty Thursday after their stocks surged on a strong quarterly report and a raised 2013 forecast from Pier 1 Imports Inc.

Pier 1 said its first-quarter profit rose 26 percent with shoppers more willing to pay full price for its home furnishings. The results beat market expectations.

The results bode well for other furniture sellers, which have spent the past few years marking down a lot of their big-ticket items to draw cost-conscious consumers in tough economic times.

Pier 1 said its revenue from stores open at least a year increased 7.2 percent. This is a closely watched indicator of a retailer's financial health because it excludes stores that recently opened or closed. That gives investors some assurance the earnings increase is more than an anomaly tied to new stores opening.

Jefferies & Co. analyst John Marrin said he believes the company's stronger guidance may be based on share repurchases that weren't reflected in its earlier forecast, but he still sees the company's earnings report as positive.

Here's how selected furniture sellers' shares were doing by mid-afternoon:

— Pier 1, up 27 cents, at $15.81.

— Kirkland's Inc., up 75 cents, 6.8 percent, trading at $11.83.

— Haverty Furniture Companies Inc., up 16 cents, at $10.73.

— Ethan Allen Interiors Inc., up 41 cents, at $21.76.

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