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Pier 1 Same-Store Sales Drop

By Home Furnishings Business in on March 2006 Fort Worth, Texas-based Pier 1 Imports reported Thursday that sales for the four-week period ended Feb. 25 of about $110 million, a 6.5 percent decrease from $117 million during the same month last year.

Same-store sales for the period declined 10.8 percent.

Marvin J. Girouard, Pier 1's chairman and chief executive officer, called the month "transitional", as the company was just completing a clearance sale.

"During February, inventories were lean most of the month as stores prepared for new merchandise arrivals," he said. "Although February's average ticket sales were higher versus the year-ago period, customer traffic was below last year, especially in periods of inclement weather during the month."

Sales for the fourth quarter were $530 million, up slightly from last year's $526 million. Comparable store sales declined 3.2 percent for the quarter. Year-to-date sales for the twelve-month period of $1.85 billion were down 2.5 percent from $1.89 billion last year, and comparable store sales declined 7.2 percent.

During this month and through the first quarter, Pier 1 will be rolling out its new merchandise dubbed modern craftsman.

"Pier 1's merchandise has evolved from a traditional global motif to a more streamlined and contemporary style and design, with distinctive global influences," Girouard said. "This new merchandise has simpler lines, architectural shapes, and in many cases larger-scale proportions with sophisticated, fashion-forward color palettes. We believe that the new Pier 1 modern craftsman designs make our merchandise more relevant to today's consumers."

Pier 1's support of the new product includes a marketing program with new national television commercials, a spring catalog mailing and magazine advertising.

Fourth quarter and fiscal 2006 year-end results and March sales will be reported April 6, and the company will conduct a conference call to discuss results.

SCFMA Announces Premarket

By Home Furnishings Business in on March 2006 The Summer and Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association continues to expand the premarket event it has held for the past two years in advance of the International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market in Chicago.

This year's premarket is slated for July 10-13 at Chicago's Merchandise Mart, which will host the main show Sept. 13-16. Premarket hours are 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

"The first year we did this, 2004, the premarket was very loosely structured, not even an official event," said Joe Logan, SCFMA executive director. "Last year, we added temporary space for the premarket and made it an official event. We decided to do that again this year."

In 2005, more than 20 companies showed at SCFMA premarket in temporary spaces, joining the more than 30 permanent exhibitors. Logan expects that temporary presence to grow for the 2006 premarket.

Companies interested in securing temporary space should contact Jennifer Cal or Whitney Gillespie at Merchandise Mart Properties, (312) 527-4141.

The Summer and Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association represents more than 70 leading manufacturers of summer and casual products. It is a division of the American Home Furnishings Alliance.

La-Z-Boy to Participate in Investor Conference

By Home Furnishings Business in on March 2006 Kurt Darrow, La-Z-Boy president and chief executive officer, will present at next week's Raymond James 27th Annual Institutional Investors Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Darrow's presentation is scheduled for Tuesday at 3:25 p.m., and will be Web cast live. The presentation will be available on the company's Web site, and a replay of the event will be available about an hour after the presentation.

DOC Extends Deadline for New Shipper Review Results

By Home Furnishings Business in on March 2006 By Powell Slaughter

By Powell Slaughter

The U.S. Department of Commerce has extended the deadline for its preliminary ruling on so-called "new shippers" in its antidumping investigation of Chinese producers of wood bedroom furniture.

Last September, DOC began examining four Chinese manufacturers who had not been shipping subject merchandise to the U.S. market during the time from of the original investigation, April through September 2003.

DOC originally planned to issue preliminary results on Kunyu, Dongguan Landmark Furniture, Meikangchi and Hui-Yang no later than Feb. 26. In complex cases, however, the Department can extend that deadline another 120 days, giving DOC until June 26 for its initial results.

According to a notice in the Federal Register, DOC needs more time due to "significant and complicated issues surrounding the Department's normal value calculation for wooden bedroom furniture, particularly with respect to the valuation of the many factors of production associated with wooden bedroom furniture production."

DOC will use the extra time to analyze the manufacturers' responses to questionnaires, issue supplemental questionnaires and conduct appropriate verifications.

Each of the four companies in question will be judged individually in terms of setting any duty rates.

Verlo Mattress Factory Stores Relocating Headquarters

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 Verlo Mattress Factory Stores is relocating its headquarters into a soon-to-be-renovated historical building in Fort Atkinson, Wis.

Currently located in Whitewater, Wis., the retail chain has about 70 stores.

Once renovation of the Creamery Building is complete, Verlo will move into a 15,000-square-foot space on the 5th foor. The rest of the 100,000-square-foot building will house a mix of retail and office space.

The move will allow Verlo to put all of its corporate functions under one roof. The move is expected to take place this fall.

In addition to the corporate headquarters, one of Verlo's local franchise stores will be located on the first floor of the building.
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