Tough times continued for Pier 1 Imports Inc. (OTC:PIRRQ) today after it lowered its second-quarter earnings guidance and said its CEO would step down. As of 11:11 a.m. EDT, the stock was down 14.5%.
CEO Alex Smith, who has led Pier 1 for nearly 10 years, said he would leave the company at the end of the year in what was called a mutual decision between him and the board of directors. The board has enlisted the help of recruiting firm Korn/Ferry to find a new chief. Smith steered the company on a successful post-recession comeback, but over the last few years profits have dwindled amid heavy promotions, and the stock has crumbled.
That pattern continued into the second quarter as overall sales fell 6.7% and comparable sales, which include e-commerce, dropped 4.3% from the year-ago period. Management estimated a loss per share of $0.06 to $0.05, worse than estimates for a per-share loss at $0.03. Smith said despite traffic challenges, the company was able to drive improvement in merchandise margin, though sales growth seems to be the overwhelming problem.
Considering the stock has fallen more than 80% since its peak in 2013, it's probably best for investors for Smith to move on. The home-furnishings industry has been competitive, with Restoration Hardware recently struggling as well, but after so many quarters of falling sales and profits, Pier 1 needs a new strategy.
Pier 1 will report second-quarter earnings on Sept. 28. Keep your eye out for any news on the next CEO as that will likely be the next catalyst to move the stock.