Pier 1 Steps Back into Catalog Business

Nearly 20 years since Pier 1 shelved its catal, the $1.9 billion home decor retailer is reentering the catalog arena. The Fort Worth, TX-based retailer will test-mail a catalog this fall in select geographic and demographic markets. Just as its four-year-old Website offers the convenience of online shopping, “a Pier 1 catalog will provide another shopping channel and an effective marketing tool,” says spokesperson Merianne Roth. “The catalog will initially offer a select SKU assortment as well as select merchandise from our ‘special finds’ line” of larger rugs and furniture.

Pier 1 discontinued its catalog in 1986 — two years after its launch — so that it could devote its resources to opening more stores. “Now that we have 1,100 North American stores,” Roth says, “we want to ensure that we are reaching our customers with options that are convenient to the way they prefer to shop.”

Yogeesh Wagle, a specialty retail analyst at New York-based Standard & Poors, says Pier 1’s catalog should boost traffic in the stores and on the Website. “Any time you diversify the selling channels, that helps the brand.”

Wagle says that 40% of Pier 1’s sales come from furniture as opposed to smaller decorative products; the catalog may be a better way to showcase the larger items than the somewhat cramped stores. “In the stores, the customer has a hard time recognizing the furniture because the home decor items could be overwhelming,” he says. Pier 1’s wicker furniture pieces, for example, are often stacked in the store to maximize space. “With a catalog, the presentation would be much more appealing to its customers,” Wagle says.

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