Pier 1 Imports History

Peace, Love and Papasans

Pier 1 Imports started as a single store in San Mateo, California, in 1962. Our first customers were post-World War II baby boomers looking for beanbag chairs, love beads and incense. Pier 1 has carried a wide selection of merchandise through the years, from chocolate-covered ants to clothing lines to life-size Spanish suits of armor.

Fort Worth, USA

Pier 1 Imports established its corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1966. By then, there were 16 store locations with a merchandise mix of incense and other popular novelty items of the time.

Going Public

In 1970, Pier 1 Imports went public and became listed on the American Stock Exchange. Two years later Pier 1 Imports joined the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol PIR. By this time, we had 123 stores and were celebrating 100 percent sales gains for four consecutive years. We also expanded our international presence by adding stores in Australia and Europe.

Growing Up

In 1979, a store in Royal Oak, Michigan, was the first to reach $1 million in annual sales. 1985 brought significant changes that reshaped the company’s image as selling quality, unique home furnishings and decorative accessories. Management launched a plan to double the number of stores by 1990. There were 265 stores at the end of 1985.

The Pier 1 Preferred Card was introduced in 1988 and by 1989, there were 120,000 Pier 1 Preferred Customer Cardholders. Over the next few years, the Pier 1 Preferred Card expanded, reaching sales of $100 million in 1994.

Pier 1 Imports continued growing internationally during the ’90s as well. The first store in Puerto Rico was opened in 1993. We also entered into a partnership with The Pier, a chain of retail import stores in the United Kingdom, and opened “boutiques” in Sears de Mexico stores.

The Design Concepts Program

Pier 1 Imports introduced the Design Concepts program in 1996. The program was developed to provide designers exclusive product previews and generous discounts on Pier 1 merchandise. The Design Concepts perk is accepted at all Pier 1 stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The New Millennium

We ushered in the new century with the launch of our online store at pier1.com and a new advertising campaign. The “Get In Touch With Your Senses” campaign positioned Pier 1 as a fun, sensory shopping experience that customers had long identified with the eclectic specialty store. We signed Kirstie Alley as our spokesperson for the campaign, marking the first time that we had employed a celebrity spokesperson.

New Kid on the Block

Pier 1 Imports acquired Cargo Furniture and Home in 2001. Established in 1981, Cargo Furniture and Home was originally a family-focused selection of casual furniture. We changed the concept to Pier 1 Kids, a specialty retailer offering value-oriented, fashionable children's furniture and accessories.

New Corporate Headquarters

A tornado swept through Fort Worth in March of 2000, destroying several buildings located in the downtown area, including the Calvary Cathedral. On January 7, 2002, Pier 1 Imports agreed to purchase this site for its new corporate headquarters.

Still Fun at 40

Pier 1 Imports celebrated its 40-year history of retailing in 2002. With the mantra “From Hippie to Hip,” we featured year-long special promotions and merchandise to honor the occasion.

Viva Las Vegas

On February 23, 2003, Pier 1 Imports opened its 1,000th North American store—the largest store at that time—in Summerlin, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas.

Home Sweet Home

In August 2004, Pier 1 Imports transitioned from three downtown Fort Worth office locations and moved our Home Office associates into our new corporate headquarters. The building includes associate amenities such as a fitness center, a walking trail, an on-site café, a conference center and a state-of-the-art training center for Pier 1 Imports’ information systems department.

The 460,000-square-foot, 20-story building is located on more than 14 acres of land on the outskirts of downtown Fort Worth. It is considered to be one of the first key developments of the city’s proposed Trinity Riverfront Project, a landmark improvement project in Fort Worth.

Pier 1. Life More Interesting.

In 2004, Pier 1 Imports announced a new marketing campaign designed to remind customers of the globally inspired, one-of-a-kind mix of home furnishings and accessories offered, and the exciting in-store experience discovered when shopping at Pier 1 Imports. The campaign also introduced the concept of a product as our “spokesperson,” instead of using a celebrity to communicate our brand and messaging.

The Pier

On March 20, 2006, we announced the sale of our United Kingdom subsidiary, The Pier, to Palli Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lagerinn ehf. As of February 25, 2006, Pier 1 Imports operated more than 40 The Pier stores and concessions located in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Welcome new President and CEO

On January 30, 2007, Pier 1 Imports announced that its Board of Directors had chosen and elected Mr. Alex W. Smith, age 54, as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a director on the Board, effective February 19, 2007. Smith brings more than 30 years of retail experience to Pier 1 Imports.

Golden Anniversary

Pier 1 Imports embraced 2012 as an important year for the company. In addition to celebrating its 50-year history of retailing, Pier 1 Imports also celebrated its 40th year of being listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The anniversary was marked with a year of celebrations, including the Mayor of Fort Worth declaring November 28, 2012, “Pier 1 Imports Day” in Fort Worth, Texas.

Launch of e-Commerce site

We were pleased to unveil the newly redesigned e-Commerce-enabled website, Pier1.com, in July of 2012. This new business allows us to provide our customer with the ability to shop when she wants, how she wants and where she wants.