We compared Ross and the struggling Pier 1 Imports and saw why the messier store is actually better to shop for home goods

  • Pier 1 Imports, a major home goods retailer, is struggling and closing up to 450 of its 942 stores.
  • Ross Stores sells home goods in addition to clothes, shoes, and accessories.
  • We visited a Ross store in Davie, Florida and a Pier 1 Imports in New York City to see how they compared for home-goods shopping.
  • While Ross was clearly messier, it was also the better store for home goods, from price to quality.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Pier 1 Imports, once a leader in the home goods sector, is struggling.

The company announced earlier this month in an earnings report that it plans to close up to 450 of its 942 stores, which could impact thousands of employees' jobs.

We visited a New York City Pier 1 Imports store over the summer and were impressed with the quality offerings and charming store layout. However, it was clear why the company has been struggling to compete with other discount home-goods chains.

Ross Stores is an off-price retailer that sells a variety of home goods in addition clothes, shoes, and accessories. The company has a history of posting strong sales and reported an 8% rise in third-quarter sales to $3.8 billion in November.

We also visited a Ross store in Davie, Florida and compared it to our experience at Pier 1 Imports. While Ross was clearly messier, it was also the better store for home goods, from price to quality.

Here was our experience:

We visited a Pier 1 Imports on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

The store was having its semi-annual sale, so we expected to find some deals.

But a sign in the window made it clear that our experience would be focused more on home-making than chiefly discount-finding.

The interior of the store had soft lighting and shelves with a light-wood finish, which made for a cozy atmosphere.

There were red signs all over the store that highlighted different deals.

In some cases, the shelves were somewhat empty, suggesting the deals were working.

In the bath and body section, the bins were almost completely empty.

We found a two for $20 deal in the scented candle section.

We quickly realized that this store had almost everything anyone could need to decorate home. We found everything from decorative candle-holders …

… to lanterns with electric lights.

But while we were able to find a lot of charming merchandise, a lot of it didn't seem useful for the average shopper.

In fact, a large portion of the items seemed to have little utility at all, like this Sitting Buddha statue, that was originally $149.95 but was going for 50% off.

There was an abundance of these types of items located throughout the store.

We also noticed that when it came to quantity, Pier 1 Imports seemed to be overdoing it in some categories. There were a lot of similar-looking rugs to choose from.

The decorative pillow selection was similarly large and a lot of them looked pretty similar.

Overall, it felt like Pier 1 Imports could afford to sacrifice some variety for a more streamlined display of merchandise.

Plus, the space seemed too large for a home-goods store. The entire two floors of Pier 1 Imports were devoted to home goods, with a small area for some bath and body products.

The prices weren't impressive either. This lamp was marked at $199 and it was not clear if it was on sale.

Even some items on clearance items didn't seem to be that cheap.

While Pier 1 Imports had an impressive collection of knickknacks, the store's mediocre prices and large quantity of merchandise made it unlikely to appeal to the average shopper.

We also stopped by a Ross store in Davie, Florida.

In addition to regular carts, we could choose one of these smaller baskets to hold our items.

We visited around the holidays so the front of the store had a bunch of seasonal items and toys.

In addition to home goods, Ross also sells a lot of clothes and shoes …

… so a lot of the store was filled with racks of clothing that looked like this.

But though the off-price retailer is known for selling designer brands for less, we ventured away from the handbags and sneakers to find some home goods.

Like Pier 1 Imports, there was a large and diverse selection of bath and body works at Ross.

In the back of the store, there was a small section of furniture. While less organized than the furniture at Pier 1 Imports, there seemed to be some good, cheap options here.

In the aisles, we found a delightful collection of rugs …

… as well as some pieces of art.

Though the selection at Ross wasn't nearly as large as the one at Pier 1 Imports, we were surprised to find so many quality charming items.

And the prices were out of this world. This nautical-themed soap dispenser was going for just under $5.

And this fake plant was just $7.99.

We also found some more atypical home goods here as well, like this pack of vintage light bulbs originally marked at $15 but going for $10.99 …

…. and this dragon statue for $15.99.

Overall, we felt like Ross had a nice balance between irregular items and more classic home-goods mainstays …

… like these pillows.

However, some areas were messier than we expected.

And in one area, the shelves were practically empty.

It wasn't strange to find shelves that seemed to be filled with a random assortment of goods.

We also found a surprising amount of food.

Still, though Ross was messier and had a smaller selection of home goods overall, it was clear that Pier 1 Imports could just not compete with the value of a discount home-goods chain.

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