I watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy religiously, and I'm not afraid or embarrassed to admit that I really enjoy the program. Although I don't consider myself a metrosexual (whatever the heck that is), the advice that the Fab 5 dispenses holds a great deal of credibility with consumers.

It's been a rough year for Pier 1 Imports (NYSE:PIR), but things are starting to look up for the home furnishings retailer. Following sales disappointment after earnings shortfall, the company enlisted the help of home design guru Thom Filicia (of Queer Eye fame) to perk up the company's stale image. Thom is now using words such as "modern," "primitive," "natural," "color," and "texture" in the company ads with phrases such as "inspiration from all over the world that will organically work together." This is a vast and welcomed departure from the loud and misguided rantings of former pitcher Kirstie Alley.

Pier 1 reported second-quarter earnings today of $0.12 a share, which was one cent better than the analysts' consensus estimate and $0.08 below last year's earnings of $0.20 per share. Sales for the quarter rose 5.7%, although same-store sales declined 3%, as the company has cut prices on certain products, reduced the number of store items, and begun a management-training program.

Third-quarter sales are projected to grow 4% to 9% (with minus 4% to flat same-store sales expected), and earnings should be in the $0.28 to $0.35 per-share range ($0.30 had been expected). The company expects fourth-quarter sales to increase 3% to 9% (with same-store sales ranging from a 5% decline to 1% growth) and earnings from $0.52 to $0.62 per share. For the year, Pier 1's management forecasts earnings per share of $1.05 to $1.22 (from the previous consensus estimate of $1.14 per share).

Also, the company's balance sheet remains strong; Pier 1 finished the quarter with nearly $100 million of cash. Through the first half of 2004, Pier 1 has repurchased 2.4 million of its shares for $43 million. With $126.7 million still remaining on the share buyback program, the company certainly has a decent amount of cash to reinvest in its business.

The shares, which are trading at 14 times the 2005 earnings estimate of $1.33 per share, appear to be attractive relative to the company's earnings growth rate of 17%. With legendary investor and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) front man Warren Buffett buying 8 million shares of Pier 1 last month, and Thom Filicia continuing to connect with consumers, the company appears to finally be gaining some momentum.

Sit down on some wicker furniture, light a candle, and check out some of these related takes:

Phil Wohl spent more than 12 years on Wall Street and now concentrates his writing on more fictional characters. He has no stake in any firm mentioned above.