Pier 1 Imports, purveyor of Papasan chairs and colorful home decor, is shuttering its stores for good
For decades, Pier 1 was one of the most popular home places to shop for cute, colorful, and affordable home goods and decor. Sure, their popularity had waned a little with the rise of e-commerce goliaths like Amazon. But they were still around, still a prime spot to snag super-cute Papasan cushions or, like, salt-and-pepper shakers that look like llamas. But now, due to economic strain from the coronavirus pandemic, the retailer is sadly packing it in.
Although they filed for bankruptcy back in February, the hope remained that Pier 1 would be able to recover. With COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc on the economy, though, the home-decor chain has decided to close all 540 of their stores for good.
“This decision follows months of working to identify a buyer who would continue to operate our business going forward. Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment has been significantly compounded by the profound impact of COVID-19, hindering our ability to secure such a buyer and requiring us to wind down,” Pier 1’s CEO/CFO Robert Riesbeck revealed in a statement.
So, what happens next? Currently, Pier 1 stores across the nation are already closed temporarily in accordance with safety guidelines. Once they are able to reopen, the company will begin an “orderly wind-down.” That means selling off all inventory and any other assets via a court-supervised process.
It’s the latest untimely end of a “non-essential” store in the face of the pandemic. If it feels like Pier 1 has always been around, well, it effectively has for many of us — it was founded in 1962. On its website, the company describes its first customers as “post-World War II baby boomers looking for beanbag chairs, love beads, and incense.”
From the onset, they clearly had their eye on a specific customer demographic: counterculture youth, people looking for cheap home goods with quirky charm and loads of personality. Thus explaining their “wide selection of merchandise through the years, from chocolate-covered ants to clothing lines to life-size Spanish suits of armor.”
It goes without saying that Pier 1 isn’t the only company dealing with the negative effects of the pandemic lockdown. Many major retailers have filed for bankruptcy, and several — including J.C. Penney, Sears, and Nordstrom — seem to be in real danger of suffering the same fate as Pier 1.