Pier 1 Imports ($NYSE:PIR) is in a deep state of sloughing off overhead, and according to new reports, it may shutter up to 450 of its remaining 936 stores. This comes after the company reported $59 million in losses in its third quarter.

The chain has already closed hundreds of stores. The map below illustrates where those closures have occurred so far.

Future closures will likely affect stores in areas that are already served by the chain. Proximity analysis of still-open Pier 1 stores reveals that Pier 1's retail outlay is already relatively well-spaced, at least in high-population areas.

On average, each remaining Pier 1 has just 0.09 other stores within a 5-mile radius. That number jumps to 0.85 within a 10-mile radius and 1.86 within 15 miles. It is in those latter areas that we may see stores close, as furniture shoppers are likely to already be mobile. Meanwhile, a focus on e-commerce and in-store pickup may mean that a 15-mile distribution may be enough to serve Pier 1's customers in the future.

In New York City, for instance, there are 11 Pier 1 locations within a 15-mile radius. In Orange, California, there are 9 stores within 15 miles of one another. The chart below lists the highest-density areas currently served by Pier 1 and serves as a possible indicator as to where the chain may thin outlay.

Street

City

State

Other stores within 15 mi

2146 Bartow Avenue

Bronx

NY

11

763 S Main Street, Suite 150

Orange

CA

9

216 Glen Cove Road

Carle Place

NY

9

11315 Hwy 7

Minnetonka

MN

9

1805 Preston Rd Ste. A

Plano

TX

8

5711 Hollywood Blvd

Los Angeles

CA

8

11 The Promenade

Edgewater

NJ

7

4362 East New York

Aurora

IL

7

2395 East Imperial Hwy, Suite B

Brea

CA

7

7805 N Macarthur, Suite 110

Irving

TX

7

1329 Boston Post Rd

Larchmont

NY

7

2501 W. Happy Valley Pkwy, #26

Phoenix

AZ

6

13710 Dallas Pkwy, Suite A

Dallas

TX

6

1401 Johnson Ferry Rd, Suite 172

Marietta

GA

6

1522 E Golf Rd

Schaumburg

IL

6

5857-A Leesburg Pike

Falls Church

VA

6

574 Prairie Center Drive, Suite 165

Eden Prairie

MN

6

7684 Richmond Hwy

Alexandria

VA

6

1014 Baltimore Pike

Springfield

PA

6

31800 Woodward Ave

Royal Oak

MI

6

Pier 1 spent much of 2019 heavily discounting inventory in order to prep stores for closures, with the number of discounted items sold via its e-commerce operation at an apex in the summer of 2019. 

By May 7, 2019, for instance, Pier 1 listed 27,200 items with a heavy discount on its website, up from an average of around just 7,000 in previous summers. Around that same time, Pier 1 began ratcheting up discount percentages in a clear move to, well, clear inventory.

Discounting activity — at least at Pier 1's online operation — has since normalized to a large extent. This could be a signal that, once the chain has determined where it will shutter operations next, it will lean into its remaining assets and give 2020 a more focused, lean-approach.

But discounting and e-commerce may not matter in the end. Some retail analysts point to Pier 1's aging brand and inability to keep up with design trends that have consumers looking to other options even in the brick-and-mortar space. On top of that, Pier 1's current retail outlay already heavily targets affluent customers in heavy population centers.

According to the 2018 census data, the average income by CBSA for the remaining Pier 1 locations is an above-average $66,100. Its four Silicon Valley locations serve a local population with a median income of $124,700.

There is some silver lining for Pier 1 as we head into 2020. In the past year, deep sales and marketing efforts have seen appreciable growth in the store's "Were Here" count, as measured by Facebook.

"Were here" measures the number of selfies and status updates posted to Facebook from various Pier 1 locations. The graph above shows a nice gain during the 2019 holiday season, something the chain may want to lean into and learn from.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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