Pier 1 Imports Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, to Pursue Sale

Decision comes weeks after company announced closure of 450 stores, layoffs
February 17, 2020 Updated: February 17, 2020

Pier 1 Imports announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and has the approval of its lenders to pursue a sale of the company, just weeks after the home furnishings retailer announced that it would shutter hundreds of stores and pare its workforce across the United States.

“We are moving ahead in this process with the support of our lenders and are pleased with the initial interest as we engage in discussions with potential buyers,” Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1’s chief executive officer and chief financial officer, said in a Feb. 17 statement.

The filing is designed to provide Pier 1 with more flexibility—and time—as it works to go ahead with a sale, Riesbeck said in the statement, adding that his firm will “work to unlock additional value for our stakeholders.”

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company is in talks with multiple potential buyers, according to the statement.

Last month, the firm said it would close about 450 stores across the United States, and it will also shut down distribution centers. Layoffs affecting about 300 workers were also announced.

At the time, the chain named Riesbeck as its CEO.

Pier 1 will also initiate bankruptcy proceedings in Canada, and will close all its stores across that country.

In the Feb. 17 statement, the chain said it received a commitment of approximately $256 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Bank of America, Wells Fargo National Association, and Pathlight Capital LP. The move will give it “ample liquidity” to support its operations and sale process.

“We will continue to serve our customers regardless of how and where they shop with the style, value, and selection of merchandise they want as we move through this process, and we are committed to working seamlessly with our vendors and partners,” Riesbeck said. “We appreciate the ongoing dedication of our associates, whose efforts in providing our loyal customers with the experience they expect from our brand are critical to our success and the future of Pier 1.”

Pier 1 expects the deadline to submit qualified, binding bids to be around March 23, the company said in the statement.

The filing comes after retailers, in general, closed about 9,300 stores across the United States in 2019, according to a year-end report by Coresight Research (pdf). By comparison, 5,844 stores were shut in 2018, Coresight said.