Why Pier 1 Imports' Shares Plunged

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of retailer Pier 1 Imports (NYS: PIR) were being tossed in the bargain bin today, falling as much as 11% in intraday trading after the company announced fiscal first-quarter sales.

So what: For the first quarter, Pier 1 reported a 7.2% gain in same-store sales, which built on a 10.2% increase last year. Margins were moving in the right direction as the gross margin for the quarter is expected to finish at 41.6% versus 40.1% last year. And when the home-goods specialist announces full results on June 14, it anticipates reporting $0.16 in earnings per share -- right in line with current analyst estimates.

Now what: So what gives? Why the drop? I'll admit that I'm scratching my head on this one. The first quarter looks like it was a successful one and, more broadly, Pier 1 looks like a reasonably valued stock with a business that's moving in the right direction.

Perhaps investors were hoping for even more from the quarter or this is a case of "buy the rumor, sell the news" and the positive results were widely expected. In either case, it'd be a short-term reaction that could play into the hands of longer-term investors who can now buy in a bit cheaper.

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