We shopped at TJ Maxx and Pier 1 Imports to see which store is better for home goods — and the winner was unexpected

The Pier 1 Imports store we visited had a meticulous display of candles.

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The Pier 1 Imports store we visited had a meticulous display of candles.
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Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

  • The home-goods retail sector is saturated with options – and some are better than others.
  • Pier 1 Imports was once a leading player in the market, but it has since fallen behind other competitors like Target, Amazon, and TJ Maxx.
  • We visited Pier 1 Imports and TJ Maxx to see which store is better for home-goods shopping. Despite its recent struggles, Pier 1 Imports was the clear winner.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Home-goods retailers are in a competitive market these days – and not every store is making the cut.

Pier 1 Imports – once a top contender in the home goods and accessories category – has been losing value for nearly five years. The company’s CEO, Cheryl Bachelder, announced in an earnings call in June it would close 57 stores by the end of its 2020 fiscal year t0 cut costs after weak quarterly earnings results.

Read more: We shopped at Target and the struggling Pier 1 Imports to see which store is better at selling home goods – and there was a clear winner

TJ Maxx, on the other hand, has become a go-to destination for shoppers who want a good bargain in general. Ernie Herrman, the CEO of TJX Companies – the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods – said in May that business from bargain-driven consumers was likely to increase given the threat of tariffs and subsequent price hikes of other retailers.

We visited TJ Maxx and Pier 1 Imports to see which retailer is better for home goods. Pier 1 Imports’ vast selection and color-infused merchandise was charming enough for it to earn the victory, while the TJ Maxx location we visited disappointed us with its limited and slightly erratic display.


First, we stopped by TJ Maxx in Manhattan’s Financial District.

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Like most TJ Maxx stores, the majority of the space was filled with clothing — but we knew there was a sizable section of home goods to be found.

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There were a few home items on the main floor, but they seemed a little out of place.

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Still, we did find a cool vintage Coca-Cola tub for $129.99.

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There was also a whole bath and body selection on the first floor.

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Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

We headed downstairs to find more home goods.

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We were greeted with a whole line of shopping carts. The store seemed to encourage us to take advantage of the deals in bulk.

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At the outset, the display was enticing and filled with color. There seemed to be a nice array of different home items, from bedding to wall decor.

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Though a lot of the items were nice, nothing really stood out to us and screamed “must-have.”

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But still, the necessities were there. This aisle of picture frames had many sizes and colors to choose from.

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We found a display of scented candles, but we were disappointed with the disorganization here. There seemed to be very little attention given to the layout of the candles, and the result was a messy section.

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We found a small section of wedding decorations and gifts — perfect for wedding season.

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Nearby, we found a wall full of pet toys, which seemed out of place in a home goods section.

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We also found some food nearby. Though technically a good found in the home, the food seemed pretty random here.

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A sign on the wall summed up the TJ Maxx motto. While the prices were definitely low, we can’t say that the standards were super high.

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From mugs to candles to bedsheets, TJ Maxx technically had it all. But the selection seemed limited to what the store happened to get from its distributors. As a result, the home goods section was rather limited and sporadic.

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Next, we stopped by Pier 1 Imports.

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The exterior of Pier 1 Imports on the Upper East Side
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Though the store was advertising huge deals, it didn’t have the same discount shopping feel of TJ Maxx.

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Even the motto was different here. It seemed to appeal to the aesthetic pleasure of home decorating as opposed to the bargain-hungry customer.

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But discounts were still to be had. We were there during what the store called its semi-annual sale, so items were going for even cheaper than usual.

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The number of options in Pier 1 Imports is hardly comparable to that of TJ Maxx. There was an entire section of the store devoted to scented candles and goods of that ilk.

The Pier 1 Imports store we visited had a meticulous display of candles.

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The vast candle display at Pier 1 Imports
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Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

These candles were neatly organized by brand and color, and the prices were great.

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Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Like at TJ Maxx, there was a section of bath and body products here.

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But overall, there was just more to browse here. There were shelves of different lanterns for candles …

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… and electric lighting options as well.

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Downstairs, we found a massive wall of decorative pillows.

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… and another wall filled with trinkets and knick-knacks.

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We also found some items that were more out of the ordinary. This Sitting Buddha statue ($149.95) immediately grabbed our attention.

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Pier 1 Imports seemed to have every option for home beautification. Some items, like these clocks, had utility …

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… and some, like these paintings, were just for show.

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But every piece from the store seemed to have a bit of personality. It was hard to find something bland.

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Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

There was also the option to look up items on Pier 1 Imports’ website if you couldn’t find something in the store.

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Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

The personality and lovely designs in Pier 1 Imports won us over. TJ Maxx was a good experience for a discount, but the options were scant at best. With its great selection and prices, Pier 1 Imports had the best of both worlds.

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Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider