FORT WORTH, Texas-Pier 1 Imports posted a 14.1 percent jump in first-quarter net income in what its president and CEO, Alex Smith, described as the company’s 15th consecutive quarter of “significant sales and profit growth.”
The bottom-line gain came on the back of a net sales increase of 9.3 percent to $394.9 million in the quarter, which ended on June 1. The sales increase included a pickup of 5.9 percent in same-store sales. Increases in store traffic and higher average ticket both contributed to the same-store jump.
Smith cited the increase in gross margin as a key to Pier 1’s success in the quarter. Gross margin gained 80 basis points to finish at 42.4 percent. “The continued improvement of our gross profit speaks to the success of our merchandising strategies, both in-store and online, and reflects strong full-price selling during the period,” Smith said.
Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 7.9 percent in dollars but declined 40 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 31.8 percent.
Along with producing strong financial numbers, the first quarter brought further advances to Pier 1 in other key areas. “We’re pleased with the ongoing progress we are making towards building out our multichannel functionality and executing our 1 Pier 1 vision,” Smith said. He added that the retailer will begin the integration of its store and e-commerce businesses this summer, “laying the foundation to provide a seamless and significantly enhanced shopping experience for our customers.”