May 19, 2020 / 8:33 AM / 14 days ago

Pier 1 seeks to wind down operations as pandemic foils search for buyer

(Reuters) - Home decor and furniture retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc said on Tuesday it has filed to seek bankruptcy court approval to wind down its operations as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the ability for it to find a buyer.

Pier 1, which operates about 541 stores in the U.S., said in a statement that it intends to sell its inventory and remaining assets, including its intellectual property and e-commerce business, through a court-supervised process.

“Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment has been significantly compounded by the profound impact of COVID-19, hindering our ability to secure such a buyer and requiring us to wind down,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Riesbeck said.

Pier 1 said it will continue to serve its customers through its online operations, Pier1.com, and will start closing stores and begin sales liquidation once stores can reopen based on COVID-19 guidelines from local government officials.

The company’s debtor-in-possession financiers have agreed to allow the company to overdraw about $40 million to support operations through the wind-down period, it added.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company had earlier in the year in February filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was pursuing a sale, a month after announcing plans for up to 450 store closures and the shut down of two distribution centers.

Reporting by Rebekah Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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