U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs 59 mins

Pier 1 Imports fourth-quarter results disappoint, CFO departs

FILE PHOTO: The Pier 1 Imports store is seen in Broomfield, Colorado September 17, 2014. Pier 1 will be announcing quarterly results later today. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

(Reuters) - Pier 1 Imports Inc's Chief Financial Officer Nancy Walsh is leaving after a year in the job at the struggling home furnishing retailer, which reported a bigger-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.

The company known for its wicker chairs and scented candles has been battling falling sales in the face of increasing competition from rivals such as Williams-Sonoma and online giants like Amazon.com.

Walsh is the second top executive to leave the company in the last five months.

Chief Executive Officer Alasdair James stepped down in December after his turnaround efforts failed to deliver results. The company had then said it was evaluating strategic options, but may not result in a sale.

The company named director of consulting firm AlixPartners Deborah Rieger-Paganis as interim CFO and said it was considering closing up to 45 locations in fiscal 2020 due to lease expirations.

It has roughly 987 stores in the United States and Canada. Pier 1 said the number of stores likely to be closed could increase by up to 15 percent if Pier 1 fails to achieve performance goals, sales targets, and reductions in occupancy and costs.

Last month, Reuters reported the company has tapped debt restructuring lawyers to navigate potential negotiations with lenders.

Pier 1, which has a market capitalization of about $55 million, had a long-term debt of $245.6 million as of March 2.

The company on Wednesday also unveiled a plan to cut costs and save as much as $110 million in fiscal 2020 "by resetting its gross margin and cost structure."

In the crucial holiday quarter, Pier 1 reported a 13.7 percent decline in same-store sales and missed Wall Street expectation for quarterly revenue as fewer customers visited its stores.

"Our fourth-quarter sales and profitability were disappointing and reflect the execution issues we identified earlier in the year and have been working with urgency to correct," Cheryl Bachelder interim CEO said in a statement.

Shares of the company were down 7 percent at 60 cents in extended trading.


(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)