June 19--FORT WORTH -- Shares of Fort Worth-based Pier 1 Imports plummeted nearly 15 percent today after the company said its first-quarter profits sank by 25 percent despite higher sales.
Sales totaled $419.1 million, a 6.1 percent increase from a year ago, and comp-store sales -- at stores open at least a year -- increased 6.3 percent.
But Alex W. Smith, president and chief executive officer, said a highly promotional retail environment put pressure on profit margins.
The home furnishings retailer lowered its profit forecast for the year to a range of $1.14 to $1.22 a share, down from previous guidance of $1.16 to $1.24.
Pier 1 shares (ticker: PIR) were off $2.37 to $15.88 by early afternoon.
Smith noted that the retailer is growing its e-commerce business faster than it had anticipated.
"We achieved company comparable sales growth of 6.3 percent in the first quarter, reflecting strong traffic to the Pier 1 Imports brand," he said. "We are pleased to see increasing strength in e-commerce, which exceeded our plans and reached 9 percent of sales for the quarter."
Smith said a quarter of its online transactions originated at its brick-and-mortar stores, and a third of orders placed at home were picked up at stores.
"Given the momentum we are experiencing, we now anticipate that sales through Pier1.com will exceed $200 million in fiscal 2015," he said.
Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773 Twitter: @stevekasko
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