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Reporter Brandon Holveck discusses potential changes to the retail industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic with Texas A&M researcher Venkatesh Shankar.

Delaware News Journal

Having filed for bankruptcy before the coronavirus pandemic, Pier 1 Imports on Tuesday announced plans to permanently close all of its stores, including its three remaining Delaware locations.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based home goods retailer has stores on Route 1 in Rehoboth Beach, Centre Boulevard near the Christiana Mall and Concord Pike in Talleyville. The company will begin liquidation sales as soon as stores can reopen.

After filing for bankruptcy in February, Pier 1 wanted to restructure with about 450 stores or find a buyer to keep the business alive.

Pier 1 Imports (Photo: Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY)

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In a press release, Pier 1 CEO and Chief Financial Officer Robert Riesbeck said the “challenging retail environment” and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic rendered both paths impossible.

“This is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve,” he said.

Pier 1 said it has filed a motion with bankruptcy court to approve “an orderly wind-down of the company’s retail operations.” It will include liquidation of its inventory and remaining assets, including its online operations, which have continued during the pandemic.

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Government-mandated shutdowns related to COVID-19 have taken a toll on many large retailers. In recent weeks, mall-based retailers such as Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and J.C. Penney have filed for bankruptcy.

In Delaware, their stores have been closed by the state since March 24 and can only offer online orders and curbside pickup.

After filing for bankruptcy in February, Pier 1 closed more than 300 U.S. locations, including a store on U.S. 13 in Dover. At this time last year, Pier 1 operated close to 1,000 stores.

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Contact Brandon Holveck at bholveck@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @holveck_brandon.

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