ITHACA, N.Y. — For Ithaca’s Pier One Imports, the last ship is about to sail. Store employees say the imported furniture and home goods retailer will be closing its doors next month.
The Ithaca location at 722 South Meadow Street will have its last day of sales Feb. 26, according to store staff. Tops Plaza owner DLC Management Corporation already has the 9,038 square-foot retail space listed as for lease on its marketing materials.
The closing is largely due to severe financial issues affecting the Texas-based home furnishings chain. The chain is planning to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and as an urgent cost-cutting measure, the home goods retailer plans to closing about 450 of its 942 stores, shut down multiple distribution centers and lay off 40% of its Fort Worth headquarters.
Pier One Imports has posted eight consecutive quarters of financial losses and had already planned to close several dozen stores before this past holiday season’s dismal sales forced the chain to take more drastic measures. Business analysts have attributed the poor performance to unappealing products and increased competition from big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart, as well as online retailers like Amazon and Wayfair. Unable to stand out in an increasingly difficult market, it appears Pier One has found itself a victim of the “retail apocalypse”.
While it’s clear that the issue has more to do with the chain as a whole and not so much the Ithaca store itself, it’s of little comfort to Pier One store staff, who will soon be finding themselves without a job. The average store employs 12 to 15 people, most of whom are part-time staff.
Several locations will be closed across upstate New York. Those include two Pier One Imports locations slated for closure in the Rochester area, as well as stores in Kingston, Cheektowaga and New Hartford. The nearest stores to remain open include the Vestal location and two in suburban Syracuse.