Pier I cites harsh winter as it lowers profit guidance
Forth Worth, Texas — Pier I reduced its fourth quarter and fiscal 2014 profit forecasts, blaming the negative impact of severe winter weather. The home furnishings chain is the latest in a series of retailers to credit the extremely cold weather as the main reason for its reduced outlook.
“Since our holiday sales update on January 9th we have continued to experience significant disruption from adverse weather in many of our major markets, said Alex W. Smith, president and CEO. “This has resulted in considerably softer store traffic, as well as some temporary store closings, which further pressured fourth quarter sales and merchandise margin. Our fourth quarter results are frustrating and disappointing.”
Smith said that online sales at Pier 1 outperformed company expectations, accounting for 5% of total sales for the quarter and posting traffic of 1.9 million visitors per week.
Pier 1 now anticipates fourth-quarter revenue is projected in a range of about $512 million to $514 million.
For the full year, Pier 1 forecasts that its revenue will increase about 5.5%. The company previously anticipated revenue would rise by a mid- to high-single digit percentage rate.
Consumer confidence edges up in February
New York — The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index inched up to 81.6 in February from 81.2 in January.
"The most significant implication is not whether consumers have correctly assessed the weather’s negative impact on the economy, but the resilience consumers have demonstrated in the face of the polar vortex as well as higher utility bills and minimal employment gains," said survey director Richard Curtain.
The survey found that Americans under age 35 have grown more optimistic regarding pay increases. On average, they expect income gains of 5% over the next 12 months, the survey found. It ranks as the largest expected increase since November 2006.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group expands Let’s Play initiative
Three years after launching its Let’s Play initiative, Dr Pepper Snapple Group wants to play some more. The company has committed another $11 million to expand its efforts to provide tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority in the lives of kids, families and communities across North America.
More than 1 million kids will benefit as DPS extends its partnership with KaBOOM! through 2016 with a $10 million commitment to build new playgrounds and improve existing ones. In addition, DPS has entered a one-year, $1 million partnership with Good Sports to provide athletic gear, footwear and equipment to community organizations coast to coast, benefiting 1.6 million youngsters.
“At Dr Pepper Snapple Group, we recognize that play is a vital element of a child’s physical and emotional well-being. It helps make kids healthy and happy through creativity, exploration and physical activity and ties directly to our efforts to foster physically active, engaged and sustainable communities,” said Vicki Draughn, VP of corporate affairs at DPS. “We are excited to continue our partnership with KaBOOM! to provide even more great places to play, and we are very pleased to expand the scope of our Let’s Play initiative to older kids by teaming up with Good Sports to provide essential new sports equipment and gear for deserving organizations.”
A community partnership led by DPS to get kids and families active nationwide, Let’s Play began in 2011 with a three-year, $15 million commitment to KaBOOM! The company built 41 playgrounds — with more than 2,300 DPS employees contributing nearly 19,000 volunteer hours in the construction — and provided grants ranging from $500 to $30,000 for the improvement of another 2,004 playgrounds.
With the new $10 million commitment, DPS’s support of KaBOOM! through Let’s Play will exceed $25 million by the end of 2016. In the next three years, DPS will fund 30 new playground builds and a grant program that will improve nearly 400 playgrounds, including providing innovative play equipment such as Imagination Playground and Rigamajig.
“Nothing is more essential to a child’s health and well-being than safe places to play where kids can explore outside the box, creating active minds and active bodies,” said Darell Hammond, founder and CEO of KaBOOM!. “Our partnership with DPS has been instrumental in raising the national conversation about why play matters and, on behalf of the families and communities served by the partnership, we are grateful for their support.”
With Good Sports, Let’s Play expands its reach to include older kids whose favorite forms of play extend beyond playgrounds. It represents one of the most significant partnerships to date for Good Sports, according to Melissa Harper, president and CEO of Good Sports.
“We are thrilled to join DPS in the Let’s Play initiative and look forward to helping expand it to serve all school-aged children who often lack resources for their favorite type of play — organized sports,” said Harper. “Kids of all ages deserve a safe place to play, and the tools to enjoy their surroundings. The good work of Let’s Play makes this possible.”
In addition to the tools and places provided through DPS’s partnerships with KaBOOM! and Good Sports, Let’s Play runs a dedicated website, LetsPlay.com, and networks via Facebook and Twitter. On LetsPlay.com families can find play ideas and tips for various situations — including challenging days like cold and rainy weather — and blog contributions and discussions on the benefits of play.