Maybe, just maybe, something wicker this way comes. Beleaguered Pier 1 Imports
The home-furnishing retailer hasn't been alone in its troubles, as you consider the flagging customer traffic at other specialty retailers like Bombay
Sure, given the last few months of negativity and bottom fishing, today's word certainly might be interpreted as a sign of improving fortunes to come. However, the better-than-expected decrease in same-store sales may not be entirely unexpected... or sustainable.
After all, back in May, when Pier 1 pared down its first-quarter guidance, it also said it expected some degree of improvement in June due to its "Back-to-School" promotion. June's results also included benefits from its wicker sale.
Speaking of which, in June, I found myself in my neighborhood Pier 1, shopping on a weeknight, and it wasn't quite the ghost town I expected. There was a steady trickle of customers, and there didn't seem to be anything glaringly wrong with the product mix; in fact, the product mix didn't seem too terribly different from its heyday several years ago, and who knows, maybe that's part of the problem.
Of course, this didn't stop me from picking up a few gifty odds and ends myself. However, the store still didn't boast the hustle and bustle I recall from the past. It may be anecdotal evidence, but it backs up the numbers the retailer's been offering up.
So is today's upbeat sentiment prescient or premature? It's a little hard to tell. Sure, maybe those Thom Filicia TV ads are working their wonders as we speak, reminding erstwhile shoppers that Pier 1 still exists and it's fresh and it's hip, too. For the time being, though, I personally think it's a little early for exuberance. When it comes to today's news, "not as negative as expected" seems a flimsy excuse to throw a party yet for Pier 1.
Do you need some serious tips on how to decorate your home before you can even think of shopping around at Pier 1 or any of the other furniture retailers? Ask Fools in the know on the Interior Design and Decorating discussion board.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.