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Williams-Sonoma Inc.'s customers keen on textiles in 3Q

San Francisco - The textiles category was singled out as among the best performers in all of Williams-Sonoma Inc.'s five nameplates in the third quarter, during which the company generated significant gains in overall revenues and comp sales.

Laura Alber, president, ceo and director, said the company had reported "another strong quarter," in which "we continued to invest in our key, long-term growth initiatives."

These include:

  • Driving growth in the direct-to-customer channel;
  • Expanding the reach of West Elm;
  • Increasing its global presence by raising its store count in the Middle East up 13 units, "with plans for expansion in 2012 and beyond," Alber added.

Net earnings for the quarter ended Oct. 30 rose 5.0% to $43.4 billion, or 41 cents per share.

Over the 13-week period, sales rose 6.3% to $867 million, and consolidated comps increased 7.3%, as direct-to-customer revenues jumped 10% and retail comp store sales saw a 6% gain.

By nameplate, West Elm lead the pack with a 27% comp revenue gain over last year's 24%, representing "another record quarter," Alber said. Textiles along with furniture, decorative accessories and tabletop were top performing categories in the 13 weeks.

"We continue to drive frequency of purchase and we're driving new customers to the brand," she noted.

Building on the momentum, the company has several plans in place to further galvanize West Elm's business, including an expansion of textiles.

Pottery Barn delivered the next-highest comp brand revenue rate, up 7.0% against last year's 16% increase.

All PB textiles, furniture, and tabletop "delivered impressive growth in the quarter," Alber said, and results were better than expected.

PB Teen's comp brand revenue grew by 6%, driven largely by a strong back-to-school, which created incremental sales and added new customers.

Textiles, again, was cited at top sellers along with decorative accessories.

In the fourth quarter, initiatives PB Teen will include an expanded gift assortment. Also benefitting the holidays is the "strong consumer response" to the nameplate's first pop-up store, which debuted earlier this month in Natick, Mass.

At Pottery Barn Kids, "all key categories delivered positive growth" in the third quarter, "with particular strength in furniture, textiles, and decorative accessories, Alber said. The brand's comp revenue increased 5% in the quarter; and its direct-to-customer sales climbed to a record 55% of net revenues.

Linens were among the newly expanded and strong categories at Williams-Sonoma, which reported 0.1% comp brand revenues, the softest among the five nameplates.



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