Pier 1 Imports Surges on Dividend Boost, but Misses Earnings

Tickers in this article: PIR

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Pier 1 Imports surged more than 5% on Thursday after the home furnishings store boosted its dividend, despite marginally missing Wall Street's earnings expectations.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company said Thursday that it was upping its quarterly cash dividend by 20% to 6 cents a share.

Investors responded positively to the news, with shares jumping as much as 7% Thursday morning before retreating. Shares were rising 4.1% to $21.58 at last check.

The news came as Pier 1 reported net income of $26.8 million, or 26 cents a share, for the Nov. 30-ending quarter, compared to $23.7 million, or 22 cents a share in the year-earlier quarter. Earnings missed analysts' estimates by a penny, according to Thomson Reuters.

That said, the company reported a 9.6% rise in third-quarter sales to $465.5 million, beating analysts' expectations of $462 million. Comparable store sales rose 6.9% in the quarter, fueled by increases in conversion rate and higher average tickets, the company said.

President and CEO Alex Smith said the company hit a new all-time sales record for both Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend.

"Our unique and special merchandise assortments created a well-positioned value offer that resonated with our customers," Smith said in the earnings statement. "Our more overtly promotional marketing stance drove strong traffic, and our store and e-commerce teams delivered on conversion."

"We feel very good about our positioning and the execution of our holiday plans. Our holiday assortments have been very well received, as have our merchandising, marketing and customer engagement activities," Smith added. "We fully expect to capture additional market share over the holiday period."

Pier 1 also announced a new $200 million share repurchase program.

The company said it expects fourth quarter sales growth in the high single-digit range and comparable store sales for the quarter in the mid-single-digit range. Pier 1's earnings guidance was 60 cents to 66 cents a share.

For the year, Pier 1 slightly lowered its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $1.21 a share to $1.27 a share, compared to prior guidance of $1.23 a share to $1.29 a share.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.