FINANCE

Reuters: Pier I hires restructuring advisors

BY Marianne Wilson

Pier I Imports Inc. is mulling its financial options.

The struggling home furnishings and décor retailer has added debt restructuring specialists at Kirkland & Ellis LLP to the advisers who are helping the chain explore strategic alternatives, Reuters reported. Pier 1, which has about 985 stores in the United States and Canada, is also meeting with investment bankers who have debt restructuring expertise, the report said.

As of December, the retailer had about $200 million in long-term debt, with the debt coming due in 2021. At this time, a Chapter 11 filing seems unlikely, the report said, as the company had $71 million in cash as of December as well as $400 million from a revolving credit line,

Pier I has been struggling under increased competition from online players and from value and mass merchants, including Walmart and Target, who have stepped up their offerings in the home décor space. In December, Pier 1 CEO Alasdair James abruptly stepped down amid reports that the company had hired Credit Suisse to help evaluate a full range of strategic alternatives.

James’ departure came only eight months into Pier 1’s three-year turnaround plan — a plan that the company admitted was not delivering results as fast as had been hoped. The company is still on the hunt for a new CEO while board member Cheryl Bachelder fills the role in an interim capacity.

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