TV Ad Hiatus Hurts Pier 1 Sales

DALLAS A lack of television advertising contributed to Pier 1 Imports’ 8.8 percent drop in same-store sales in December, chairman and CEO Marvin J. Girouard said Thursday.

Pier 1 suspended its TV advertising in the fourth quarter after its contract with Interpublic Group’s Campbell-Ewald expired in September. IPG’s Deutsch, the agency the merchant chose to replace CE in October after a review, will launch the retailer’s new campaign in mid-March, Girouard said.

Pier 1’s total sales, including new stores, were down 3.5 percent to $290 million, Girouard said.

A highly competitive environment that resulted in heavy discounting was a major factor in the lower sales figures, Girouard said. Pier 1’s inventories were also “leaner than desired,” he said.

Girouard did not reveal the direction of Pier 1’s new advertising. Previous campaigns have used celebrity spokespersons. Actress Kirstie Alley was replaced last year by Thom Filicia, who appears on the cable TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.