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FORT WORTH, TX-Even as it closes Pier 1 Imports and Pier 1 Kids stores, the troubled Pier 1 Imports Inc. will open three new units combining the formats early next year, executives said at its third quarter conference call.

In fiscal 2007, the company will close 70 units, including seven Pier 1 kids. It will have opened 33 Pier 1 stores by year-end. Pier 1 kids stores saw a 5.3% comp-store increase, even as the chain saw comps drop 12.9% in the quarter.

“We will continue to combine Pier 1 and Pier 1 Kids where it fits,” said CFO Cary Turner.

In the quarter, the chain opened 10 units and closed 15 in the United States, and 1 international store within a Sears unit in Mexico. But it’s too early to determine store closings for fiscal 2008.

“We’re focused on sales right now,” said Chairman and CEO Marvin J. Girouard. “The real estate department is looking at all leases [but] it will be well into the beginning of the next calendar year before we can conclude anything.”

The chain reported total third-quarter sales of $402.7 million, down 11.8% from the same period last year. Pier 1 posted a net loss from continuing operations of $72.7 million, compared with a loss of $7.2 million the previous year. This year’s loss included unusual charges.

Pier 1 Imports operates 1,181 Pier 1 Imports and 41 Pier 1 kids stores in the United States, 29 Pier 1 Imports stores in Mexico and seven Pier 1 Imports stores in Puerto Rico.

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