Pier 1 Imports’ not-so-worldly collection

02/22/2014 8:00 AM

02/22/2014 8:26 PM

According to the Pier 1 Imports website

, its buyers travel the world hunting for the kinds of treasures you can’t find just anywhere. “Everything,” it states, “has a global, artisan feel.”

That’s not what the merchandise in its spring 2014 catalog reflects. Instead, it looks a lot like Pottery Barn, Wisteria or Serena Lily, with its contemporary furniture (such as the Abbie Sofa), pastel linens (Savannah bedding) and cottage-style accessories (Glass Jar Hanging Hurricanes).

As it turns out, this was a calculated move on Pier 1’s part. About 10 years ago, it began losing its global niche to lower-end retailers like Wal-Mart and Target and to higher-end ones like Pottery Barn, Crate Barrel and Restoration Hardware, leaving Pier I stuck in the middle. Revenues fell.

Some global-inspired pieces still exist, including Ivory Buddha Wall Art ($239), the Praying Monk sculpture, and, well, that’s about it for the spring catalog, though there appears to be more online and in stores. But you know what? That’s OK, since you probably wouldn’t want a glut of such items, lest your home start to look like a Turkish street bazaar.

Plus the changes appear to have worked from a business standpoint. Sales have improved for the most part during the last decade.


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