The property currently occupied by Pier 1 Imports home décor and furniture store in Oak Park, 1143 W. Lake St., was recently listed on CoStar real estate as being up for lease, but the listing might not mean the store is closing.

Mid-America real estate agent Elizabeth Krebs could immediately be reached for comment.

Pier 1 spokesman Katelyn Carroll said in an email response to questions that the company has no plans to close the Oak Park location. 

“With that said, we continually review new and existing store locations to make sure we’re operating as efficiently as possible,” Carroll added. “We are pleased to continue serving shoppers at our Oak Park location and online at pier1.com.”

The retail store has been at the location since the Shops of Downtown Oak Park shopping center was built in 1998. Pier 1 takes up 8,088 square feet of space in the 45,353-square-foot shopping center. 

Shanon Williams, executive director of Downtown Oak Park, a special service area along Lake Street, said in a telephone interview that she was surprised to hear that the space was up for lease.

“They’ve been a part of downtown Oak Park forever; I would hate to see them leave,” she said, adding, “I think that kind of shopping category needs to be here; It’s a perfect time for them with all the residents moving in.”

Viktor Schrader, economic development director of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, echoed Williams’ sentiment that the store would be a good fit considering the number of high-rise apartment units being built in the downtown area.

“Big-box retail is struggling to figure out what is the future of retail, so there’s a lot of disruption,” he said. “It seems like every day there’s a new announcement (about a retailer closing).”

Schrader said the fact that the property has been listed does not necessarily mean Pier 1 is closing that location. “They could be renegotiating their lease,” he said.

It’s not implausible that the property owner put the property up for lease on the market while it negotiates a new contract, Schrader said. 

It’s not news that Pier 1 has struggled over the last few years. The company announced in April 2017 that it was closing 25 stores nationwide. 

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company noted in its most recent quarterly financial report that in its fiscal 2018 fourth quarter sales decreased 3.1 percent to $512.2 million. Net sales decreased 1.6 percent for fiscal year 2018 to $1.8 billion.

That financial report stated that the financial performance for fiscal year 2018 “specifically in the fourth quarter, underscores the urgent need for change …”

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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