Pier 1 Abandoning E-Commerce

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In an against-the-trend move, Pier 1 will shut down all of its online operations, focusing solely on select physical locations.

"We are exiting all non-Pier 1 stores activities," Pier 1 president and CEO Alex W. Smith told Wall Street analysts on the company's first-quarter conference call, according to an Internet Retailer story. "We are exiting the e-commerce and catalog business."

The move may not be permanent, however, according to a report from Marketwatch, which quoted Smith as saying that pier1.com will continue, but purely for marketing. "We're not saying this is forever," Smith said. "We're just saying this is where we need to be today."

Although the trend is a push toward a unified merged channel--combining online and offline--when having to choose one over the other, online is typically seen as being less costly to operate. The other major retail chain to have similarly pulled back has been TJX, which pulled back from its E-Commerce efforts for T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods in late 2005. But there's a connection: Alex Smith had been a Senior VP at TJX when TJX pulled back from E-Commerce and this is the same Smith who today runs Pier 1.