Pier 1 E-Com Sales Jump 260%

Last year was transformational for Pier 1 Imports. This year, the transformation is gaining speed, as the retailer accelerates the execution of its 1 Pier 1 omnichannel strategy. For the first quarter, it generated strong traffic to the Pier 1 Imports brand and achieved a company comparable sales gain of 6.3% against a challenging retail climate. "We are delighted with the dramatic increase in e-commerce and how the advantages of 1 Pier 1 strategy have been embraced by our customers both new and returning," said Pier 1 president and CEO Alexander Smith.
Capital expenditures in the first quarter totaled $15.3 million. Of that amount, $7.4 million was utilized for technology and infrastructure initiatives, including e-commerce and the build-out of the new fulfillment center in Columbus, Ohio.
First quarter online sales accounted for 9% of the total business, well ahead of where the retailer was trending in the back half of last year. E-Commerce sales increased 260% from the first quarter last year and almost 50% sequentially from the fourth quarter.
"When we planned fiscal 2015, we did not expect our customers to engage our brand through Pier1.com with quite this much enthusiasm," commented Smith. "We are responding to this enthusiasm and modifying our plans accordingly. Based on the momentum we are experiencing, we are revising our e-commerce growth expectations for fiscal 2015 and '16." Now, the retailer anticipates that it will achieve e-commerce sales of over $200 million this year, a number that will achieve the original target one year early. It has also changed its projections for fiscal 2016 e-commerce sales to exceed $400 million.
The retailer is also making significant investments in improving its customer database, its multi-channel customer is continually growing – up 25% from the fourth quarter. With the acceleration of e-commerce, there is great potential to drive incremental brand traffic by segmenting and customizing marketing messages based on each customer's shopping behavior. "We are making great strides in this area, and it is a key priority for us for the remainder of this year," noted Smith.
In August, Pier 1 will launch in-store swatch stations that will enable it to showcase the multiple fabrics and finishes available through both Express Request and the e-commerce site in a more effective way than it does today. The rollout will roughly coincide with the fall indoor furniture book, which drops in the first part of September and should enable Pier 1 to drive incremental sales in the second half.
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