What happened

Specialty retailer Pier 1 Imports' (OTC:PIRRQ) stock shed 40% through the first half of 2017, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The slump has added to a brutal four-year stretch for shareholders, who have seen the stock decline by 80% since it peaked in the summer of 2013.

PIR Chart

PIR data by YCharts

So what

The stock's latest slump followed fiscal a fourth-quarter report in April that showed declining sales at existing locations and a shrinking base of stores.  Pier 1 did manage a few key operating wins over the 2016 holiday period, including steady gross profit margins and a sharp increase in e-commerce sales.

A Pier 1 dining set.

Image source: Pier 1.

However, overall revenue declined by 3% for the year, and net income fell to $30 million from $37 million. By comparison, Pier 1 generated over $200 million of profit in its fiscal 2013.

Now what

The retailer has a new leader at the helm in CEO Alasdair James, who took the reins in early May. James and his executive team were encouraged by Pier 1's flat sales result in fiscal Q1, but as James said in a late June press release,  "There is still much to be done to build the business to its full potential."

Executives are reviewing every aspect of the business with an eye toward maximizing shareholder returns. In the meantime, the operating outlook isn't bright. Pier 1 is spending heavily on advertising and bulking up its e-commerce infrastructure, but still expects to increase sales by less than 2% this year.

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