FORT WORTH, Texas—Growth in both sales and merchandise margins boosted Pier 1 Imports to an impressive 84 percent gain in first-quarter net income, to $14.1 million.
Net sales for the quarter, which ended on May 28, rose 9.3 percent to $334.6 million, including an increase of 10.2 percent in same-store sales, thanks for rises in store traffic and average ticket. The latter factor, along with managing inventory levels, helped Pier 1 to boost its gross margin for the quarter by 272 basis points to 40.1 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 8 percent on a dollar basis but slimmed down 37 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 32.6 percent.
Alex Smith, Pier 1’s president and CEO, said the retailer’s first quarter demonstrated “strength and sustainability in all of our businesses—top-line sales growth, strong merchandise margins, prudent cost controls, operating margin improvement, a strong balance sheet and ongoing cash generation.”