Pier 1 Imports has sued The TJX Companies over TJX's objections to the home décor retailer's choice of a former TJX official as its chief executive.

Pier 1 brought suit in a state district court in El Paso, Texas, after TJX sent a letter to Pier 1 threatening legal action if Alex W Smith, as planned, joins Pier 1 next week as president and CEO.

TJX claims the move would violate the non-competition clause of Smith's TJX contract. Smith formerly was senior executive vice president of TJX.

Pier 1 announced Smith's appointment on 30 January, just after TJX announced Smith's resignation.

According to an AP report, Tom Thomas, a Pier 1 director, said: "We had no choice but to take legal action to protect Pier 1 against further interference by TJX with our employment agreement with our new president and CEO, Alex Smith."

Thomas said action by TJX would be improper because TJX doesn't directly compete with TJX, which owns TJ Maxx, Marshalls, AJ Wright and Bob's Stores, among other US and international divisions.

However, Massachusetts-based TJX also owns the HomeGoods chain.

By Arnold J Karr.