Pier 1 Imports Posts Quarterly Loss

New York City Pier 1 Imports on Thursday posted a worse-than-expected quarterly loss, hurt by weaker traffic in March and April, according to the Associated Press.

The retailer, which has been trying to turn around its business with store closures, job cuts and reduced marketing spending, expects "modest net income" before charges for the full year, the report said.

The loss narrowed to $32.8 million for the first quarter ended on May 31, compared with a year-earlier loss of $56.4 million. The results were helped by lower expenses and decreased promotional activity.

Sales fell to $310 million from $356 million, hurt by lower traffic in March and April because of a year-earlier promotional event. Pier 1 said traffic improved during May.

Same-store sales fell 5.4% in the quarter, but the company noted that same-store sales rose 7.5% in May.

Merchandise margins improved to 51.3% during the quarter from 45.5%a year earlier, reflecting lower promotional and clearance activity. Selling, general and administrative costs fell 17%.

Pier 1 offered to buy Cost Plus Inc. for about $88.4 million in stock earlier this month, but the operator of Cost Plus World Markets rejected the bid this week, saying it was not attractive financially or strategically, the report said.

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