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FT WORTH, TEXAS—Pier 1 announced on Monday that it has launchedChapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and is pursuing a sale of thecompany. Several weeks ago it warned it would have to shutternearly half of its stores and rumors had been swirling that theretailer was set to file for bankruptcy

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The company is in talks with several potential buyers that couldacquire the retailer out of bankruptcy and pending court approvalqualified bids will be submitted by March 23.

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"We are moving ahead in this process with the support of ourlenders and are pleased with the initial interest as we engage indiscussions with potential buyers," CEO Robert Riesbeck said inprepared remarks.

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In the meantime the company will continue to focus on storeclosings. "We have worked to establish an appropriately sized andprofitable store footprint, operating structure and merchandiseassortment," Riesbeck says.

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