Gainesville’s Pier 1 Imports sits on the chopping block as the company plans to cut nearly half of its 942 stores.
Alex Dorner, manager of the Pier 1 off of Pearl Nix Parkway, said the Gainesville location is one of 450 stores nationwide that will be closed in the upcoming months. Depending on how quickly the home furnishing shop’s products sell, he said it’s expected to close in March.
The company released a statement on Jan. 6, 2020, explaining that Pier 1 will reduce its store footprint “to better align its business with the current operating environment.” Pier 1 also intends to close several distribution centers and decrease its corporate expenses.
Pier 1’s same-store sales dropped by 11.4%, according to the company’s financial report for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019.
The net sales decreased by 13.3%, coming out at a net loss of $59 million.
“Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision,” Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1’s chief executive officer and chief financial officer, said in a news release. “We thank our team of hard-working associates for their commitment to Pier 1 and to serving our customers.”
Dorner said he doesn’t expect to work as a manager at another company location because “all of the other stores are fully staffed.” He estimates that each Pier 1 store employs around 10 people.
“There’s nothing for us to step into, we’ll just have to find jobs,” Dorner said.
Despite closing soon, Dorner said the Gainesville store is expecting several more shipments of product. The business is also hiring short-term employees to help with the closing process.
Dorner said new hires can get up to 40 hours a week for unloading freight and opening boxes.