) to buy from hold.
Analyst Joan Storms says February comp-store sales exceeded guidance, as she expected. She notes the home-furnishing retailer saw traffic and transaction trends accelerate across all merchandise lines and geographic areas.
Storms sees several near-term catalysts for Pier 1, including an early positive customer response to new spring merchandise, the potential for a new marketing campaign with designer Thom Filicia, and incremental merchandise introductions. Long term, she cites Pier 1's seasoned management team and its overall merchandise excellence.
Storms sees 55 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, and $1.31 for fiscal 2004 (Feb), as well as $1.56 in fiscal 2005. She set a $30 target.