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Earnings preview: Pier 1 Imports unlikely to post strong Q1 2020 results

Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR) is scheduled to report its earnings results for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 on Wednesday after the market closes. The results will be hurt by the execution issues that it identified earlier this year. Also, the lower average customer spends and decreased store traffic could negatively impact comparable sales.

The company exited some legacy inventory, revamped the focus of its spring/summer merchandise and marketing, as well as implemented organizational redesign in support of the go-forward plan. The company has identified expenses reduction initiatives for fiscal 2020 but the majority of which is expected to be realized in the second half.

After closing 30 stores in fiscal 2019, the company plans to close up to 45 locations in fiscal 2020 as leases expire. The company resorted to stores closure, which could rise up to 15% of stores, when unable to achieve performance goals, sales targets and reductions in occupancy and other costs.

Margins could be hurt lower input margins, increased clearance activity, and deleverage on occupancy costs. However, the company has renewed its emphasis on the best-selling categories that are likely to drive sales and margin improvement for the quarter.

Analysts expect the company to report a loss of $0.57 per share on revenue of $330.3 million for the first quarter. In comparison, during the previous year quarter, Pier 1 Imports posted a loss of $0.36 per share on revenue of $371.86 million. The company has only once surprised the investors by posting a narrower-than-expected loss in the past four quarters.

For the fourth quarter, the company slipped to a loss from a profit last year, due to lower sales and reflect the execution issues it identified earlier in the year. Net sales dropped by 20% and comparable sales decreased by 13.7%. The company estimates that the shift of certain holiday selling days negatively impacted comparable sales by about 750 basis points. The company operated 973 stores at the end of fiscal 2019, a decrease of 30 from fiscal 2018 year end.

In fiscal 2020, the company is implementing an action plan designed to drive benefits of about $100 million to $110 million by resetting its gross margin and cost structure. After reinvesting in the business, the company believes it will be positioned to recapture about $30 million to $40 million of net income and $45 million to $55 million of EBITDA in fiscal 2020.

Shares of Pier 1 Imports closed Monday’s regular session down 32.22% at $7.68 on the NYSE. The stock has fallen over 87% in the past year and over 49% in the past three months.

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