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Pier 1 Imports CEO Alex Smith said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call on Thursday that customer experience and customer engagement levels have improved significantly because of the company’s omni-channel capabilities.
“In today’s highly competitive home furnishings environment, the Pier 1 Imports brand is in a much stronger position than two years ago,” Smith said during the call, according to Seeking Alpha. “Customers are very happy with our omni-channel capabilities. Our database contains nearly three times more omni-channel shoppers than a year ago. Sales to our rewards card customers outpace customer sales and our total active customer database grew very nicely.”
But Smith also cautioned that the company’s financial performance needs to improve.
“Over the past year particularly, our financial performance against our self-stated objectives and guidance has been poor, which has been very frustrating for all of us,” he explained. “The new Pier 1 Imports business model is different. The way our customers behave is very different. So, going forward, we intend to give you a greater clarity around the new business model and discuss the various levers which create improved profitability. We know that we have work to do in the back of house, particularly in our distribution centers and SG&A costs, to get back to satisfactory turns. This is all doable. The important thing remains: We have great products, great marketing and selling vehicles. We now need to get our lean infrastructure back.”
During the past two years, Smith said the company has created an operating and growth platform with seamless integration across stores, desktop, and mobile.
“We strengthened our bench strength with new talents in merchandising, marketing, ecommerce, information technology, and finance,” he explained. “We broadened our product assortments and introduced new categories. We sharpened our merchandising, marketing and promotional strategies. And we added fulfillment capacity to support the momentum in ecommerce sales for the foreseeable future.”
Smith believes Pier 1 Imports is uniquely positioned to serve its customers through its national retail footprint, online experience, and multiple delivery options.
“Importantly, all of this paves the way for us to extend our reach through new categories, Pier 1 Imports brand extensions, and potential new brands,” he added. “With this heavy investment period in the Pier 1 Imports brand behind us, coming into fiscal 2016 we are entering a new phase. We need to ratchet up our profitability by leveraging the investments we've made in people, systems, and physical infrastructure.”
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