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Bankrupt Pier 1 Imports plans to shutter remaining stores, including 3 in Charleston area

Pier 1 Imports Rivers Avenue location

Signs such as these may soon be seen at all Pier 1 Imports stores after the company said Tuesday it plans to seek bankruptcy court approval to close all locations and sell off the assets. The retailer's location in North Charleston closed earlier this year and three more in the metro area could soon go dark as well. Staff/Warren L. Wise/Staff

A national retailer of home goods and accessories is seeking bankruptcy court approval to wind down operations and shutter all of its stores after not finding a buyer.

Ailing Texas-based merchant Pier 1 Imports said in a statement this week that it plans to sell its inventory and remaining assets, including intellectual property and online operations.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, the chain wants to begin selling off retail assets "as soon as reasonably possible" through liquidation sales when stores reopen following the government-mandated closures during the coronavirus outbreak.

Pier 1 Imports filed for bankruptcy reorganization in February, shortly after announcing in January it would shutter its store on Rivers Avenue near Northwoods Mall in North Charleston. It also said at the time it would close nearly half of its 942 stores to try to cut costs and turn around operations.

The remaining 541 U.S. stores, including three in the Charleston area, will be liquidated if the court grants approval. The Lowcountry stores that could soon be vacated include sites on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard in West Ashley, Azalea Square Boulevard in Summerville and Market Center Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.

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Pier 1 operates five other stores across South Carolina, including shops in Bluffton, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach and Spartanburg. 

"This is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve," said Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1's CEO and chief financial officer. "This decision follows months of working to identify a buyer who would continue to operate our business going forward. 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.”

With the challenging retail environment in the era of online shopping and the compounding effects of the coronavirus, the company determined the best way to maximize the company's assets was to sell them off.

Pier 1 continues to serve customers through online operations, with orders being processed and filled, as it seeks to dissolve. It has proposed July 1 as the asset bid deadline, July 8 as the auction date and July 15 as the sale hearing date.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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