December 19, 2018 / 10:14 PM / in 5 months

UPDATE 2-Pier 1 CEO steps down after turnaround efforts fail

(Adds analyst quote; Updates share price)

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Home furnishing retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc said on Wednesday its Chief Executive Officer Alasdair James has stepped down and the company is looking at various options as it struggles with falling sales.

On Wednesday, the seller of wicker chairs and scented candles said it has retained Credit Suisse to help evaluate a full range of strategic alternatives, but it may not result in a sale.

Pier 1, which is struggling to keep up with competing home furnishing companies, including Williams-Sonoma, said Cheryl Bachelder has been appointed interim CEO, effective immediately.

In April, former CEO James detailed a three-year turnaround plan called “A New Day”, aimed at reducing store clutter and inventory to drive revenue growth at the struggling retailer, which has not posted a profit for the last three consecutive quarters.

“Clearly the ‘New Day’ strategic plan did not deliver the desired results fast enough,” Bachelder said in a statement.

“We will need to promptly narrow our strategic focus and hone our execution in a way that reinvigorates our top-line sales.”

Separately, Pier 1 reported a 12 percent fall in third-quarter net sales at $413.2 million, missing analysts’ estimates of $452 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

“... the third quarter declines reflect continuing challenges in executing its turnaround strategy - particularly in a strong consumer spending cycle,” Raya Sokolyanska, senior analyst at Moody’s, said.

The company’s shares plunged 14.4 percent to 95 cents in extended trading. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)

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