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Pier 1 Imports First-Quarter Loss Widens on Declining Sales

Furniture and home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports said Thursday its first-quarter loss more than doubled as sales and margins on merchandise declined.

Pier 1 Imports reported a loss of $56.4 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with a loss of $23.2 million, or 27 cents per share, in the previous year. The latest quarter included $3.5 million in one-time severance and outplacement charges associated with previously announced job cuts.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected a smaller loss of 32 cents per share. The company said merchandise margins slipped to 45.5% in the quarter from 53.8% last year on aggressive liquidation of its modern craftsman merchandise.

Quarterly revenue dropped 5% to $356.4 million from $376.1 million, but still beat Wall Street's estimate of $350.7 million.

Meanwhile, same-store sales fell 5.4%.

Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, are a key measure of retailer performance, because they measure growth at existing stores rather than from newly opened ones.

"Earlier this year, we outlined six key business priorities aimed at returning Pier 1 Imports to profitability and beyond," said Alex W. Smith, president and CEO. "As planned, our results for the first quarter reflect the impact of charges that are a direct result of the speed with which we are executing our strategy."

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