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Williams-Sonoma feels impact of housing uptick

San Francisco - The slight but steady recovery in the housing market is reverberating through merchandise sales at Williams-Sonoma Inc.'s nameplates, with home textiles one of the best-performing categories at most of its formats during the third quarter.

"I do think there's a positive uptick there because when you move, you update a lot of things in your house that are core, whether it's bath towels or bath mats. Curtains are often - you don't change your curtains unless you move. And some of those categories are doing better now than they were before," said ceo Laura Alber during the company's quarterly conference call yesterday afternoon.

She cautioned, "It's early in the cycle," but added the company is already puting together strategies to capitalize on a stronger housing market.

Net income for the quarter ended Oct. 28 jumped 12.6% to $48.9 million, or 49 cents per share. Total sales rose 8.9% to $945 million, with total comp up 8.5%.

Comp performance by division included:

  • West Elm: up 13.0%, with double-digit comp growth in furniture and textiles;
  • Pottery Barn: up 11.1%, led by furniture, textiles and decorative accessories;
  • Pottery Barn Kids: up 10.1%, with strong growth in textiles and decorative accessories;
  • PB Teen: up 2.0%, with strong growth in textiles and decorative accessories propelled by back-to-school;
  • Williams-Sonoma: up 1.3%.


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