Pier 1 Imports Gets Through Challenging Omnichannel Transformation, Eyes Greater Brand Loyalty

Pier 1 Imports interim CEO Terry London admitted that the company’s omnichannel transformation has been a challenge, but it’s been worth it.

London, who was appointed to his interim CEO post (effective Jan. 1, 2017), in conjunction with the departure of Alex W. Smith on Dec. 31, 2016), believes the future looks bright for Pier 1 Imports and enhanced brand loyalty.

“Our omnichannel platform is enabling us to compete effectively in a challenging environment and positions us to deliver long-term success and increased shareholder value,” London said during the company’s recent fourth-quarter earnings call. “When many of you probably thought we were not going to survive, I’ve never lost confidence in the brand and the management team of this organization. But certainly, that omnichannel transformation has been a challenge, and it’s been a tough go, but I think we’ve gotten through it and I give a lot of credit to those that have come before us and the brand that has been built in a very loyal customer base and a management team and a Board that is willing to try to do the hard things.”

Given the omnichannel work that has been done within the company, London noted: “I do believe, for the future, it really presents some great opportunities for us as we work through this retail environment. There’s a strong culture here at Pier 1 and that’s indicated in the brand and the loyalty base. And we’ve really had demonstrated some resilience in this changing and challenging retail environment over the last few years.”

One quarter ago, Pier 1’s loyalty program accounted for nearly 75 percent of total sales, which dwarfs the previous year’s third-quarter number of 33 percent of total sales attributed to loyalty program members.

“From my perspective, from the Board’s perspective, the second-half of this last year was much improved over the first half, no doubt about it,” London said. “We’ve returned to some positive comps. Our inventory management has been good. It’s been led by newness and emphasis on some key categories. The team’s done a good job of merchandise margin expansion and it’s been driven by more effective promotional strategy and supply chain improvements. I think that our marketing plan of returning to TV advertising and the introduction of the non-tender loyalty program has really helped drive the performance in the second-half of last year and continues to do so now. We’ve had a strong e-commerce growth ($360 million business in five years).” 

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