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Pier 1 closing all its locations, but they will reopen for clearance sales first

The company says COVID-19 and the uncertain retail market made it impossible to find a buyer.

A dozen Tampa Bay Pier 1 Imports locations will shutter when Pier 1 closes all of its stores, but they need to reopen first.

Pier 1, a home decor chain, announced Tuesday it planned to close its roughly 500 remaining stores after failing to find a buyer while in bankruptcy court. The chain has to reopen stores after closing them due to COVID-19 to begin liquidating merchandise to pay back its creditors.

“This decision follows months of working to identify a buyer who would continue to operate our business going forward," CEO Robert Riesbeck said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment has been significantly compounded by the profound impact of COVID-19, hindering our ability to secure such a buyer and requiring us to wind down.”

The interior of the Pier 1 Imports store along U.S. Highway 19 is seen Tuesday in Palm Harbor. [CHRIS URSO | Times]

In addition to selling its inventory, the company says it also plans to sell any remaining assets, including intellectual property and its online business.

Pier 1 had already announced it would close about half of its 900 stores earlier this year. The chain has 12 locations between Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties.

The 58-year-old home goods chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy about three months ago.

The retailer was struggling against the rise of Amazon and Wayfair, which made shopping for the home online easy. At the same time, Target and Walmart grew their own home decor and furniture footprints.

Pier 1 did not say when its stores would reopen. It will depend on the mandates set by local governments.

In Florida retailers can open as long as they keep store capacity at below 50 percent.