Online to Fuel Pier 1 Growth
FORT WORTH, Texas-E-commerce and its ongoing integration with the stores will provide a major driver to further growth at Pier 1 Imports, according to the home specialty retailer's executives.
Speaking at the company's Investor Day on May 7, a gathering with the executives and financial analysts, Alex Smith, president and CEO, and other Pier 1 executives spelled out the retailer's outlook for the coming years, much of which centers on the continuing development of its online business and that segment's integration with the stores. Smith said Pier 1 expects its online sales to increase from a relatively small percentage today to 10 percent of its sales by 2016, according to a transcript of the event from the Seeking Alpha financial website.
Smith said Pier 1's overall strategy, which is called 1 Pier 1, is bringing the stores and e-commerce together as "two mutually supported, integrated and interdependent businesses which will drive our future growth." He said the company's goal is for its stores to view the online sector as complementary and not as either a threat or a rival. Toward that end, each store will get credit for the direct-to-consumer sales from within their trade areas, based on zip codes.
"As we move forward with 1 Pier 1, our wonderful Pier 1 Imports stores and our beautiful website are going to become more and more dependent on each other," Smith said. "Stores will be a gateway to pier1.com, and pier1.com will be a gateway to the stores."
E-commerce offers other opportunities for Pier 1 aside from overall sales growth, said Cathy David, the retailer's executive vice president of merchandising. David said the retailer will use its website as a vehicle to expand its current categories--such as furniture (including outdoor furniture), rugs, dining and upholstery--and enter new categories, including bedding (which launched online in March). "Beyond furniture and rug, other categories with great online growth potential for us include arts, wall decor, curtain, soft home and lamp," she said. E-commerce also gives Pier 1 the chance to explore new brands and other new ideas, she said.