Pier 1 Imports to Cut Corporate Workforce
Pier 1 Imports interim CEO Cheryl Bachelder is reorganizing the home furnishings retailer's corporate staff in Fort Worth, Texas to cut costs, "better align its operations with its long-term strategy" and become more agile. It's not clear how many are losing jobs in the reorganization or how many remain in the Fort Worth office, which a year ago had about 870 employees. Pier 1 said the cuts, announced Wednesday, will result in a net of 20 fewer corporate jobs. That includes filling open positions and additional new hires the company expects to make this year. The cuts don't extend to Pier 1's 970 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Total Retail's Take: This is a common occurrence these days as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers look for various ways to cut costs as competition increases online. One such online player in Pier 1 Imports’ product category is Wayfair, which has effectively taken market share from more established brands in the space. In addition to corporate job cuts, it wouldn't be surprising to see further store closures from Pier 1. The company announced last spring that it will be closing 25 stores by 2020. If lease deals aren't renegotiated, I would expect that number to increase. The positive for Pier 1 Imports is that its interim CEO, Cheryl Bachelder, has a proven track record for turning around struggling businesses. She joined Pier 1 Imports after a successful run leading Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, ending with its purchase by Burger King's parent for $1.8 billion. The board of Pier 1 Imports is hoping Bachelder can do the same for the home furnishings brand. Unfortunately, tough decisions such as job cuts and store closures are likely to be part of her turnaround strategy.