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Textiles boost Williams-Sonoma's fourth quarter

San Francisco - Driven primarily by its Pottery Barn and West Elm brands, retailer Williams-Sonoma said fourth-quarter profits rose 9.1% on a 10.9% jump in revenues. Laura Alber , ceo, cited " textiles, furniture and decorative accessories" as important categories for the brand during yesterday's investor call.

The company also announced that a new collection of Williams-Sonoma Home will be released next month. . Alber said that the collection is, "really building on what we know is successful but also bringing to market an aesthetic that isn't being served at the high end. She added that "there are three distinct collections that we are going to be presenting." and can be seen at the Columbus Circle store in New York.

Williams-Sonoma's catalog and e-commerce businesses continued to grow at a faster pace than traditional retail stores, and noted that all of its brands except the flagship label recorded comparable brand revenue growth during the quarter.
In the Pottery Barn Kids brand, net revenues for 2012 were $558 million, with an increase in comparable brand revenue of 5.6%. The combination of textiles and furniture, especially in nursery, drove our business as our customers came to us to put together rooms for their children.

In the PBteen teen brand, net revenues for 2012 were $220 million, representing an increase in comparable brand revenue of 1.7% for the year and 6.4% in the fourth quarter. Alber said that, "textiles drove performance in our business all year. Burton has been a fantastic launch for us, and we are happy and proud to continue this partnership, as well as introduce new exciting partnerships in 2013.

In the West Elm brand, net revenues for 2012 were $430 million, representing almost 11% of total company sales. Comparable brand revenues grew 17.4% on top of 30.3% in 2011. "Growth continues to be driven by all categories, including furniture, textiles and decorative accessories," Alber said.
Total revenues for the quarter ended Feb. 3 were $1.41 billion, up from $1.27 billion in the previous year's fourth quarter.

Revenues from its retail stores rose 4.9% to $772.9 million and accounted for 55% of the total. The remaining 45% came from e-commerce and catalog business, which the company calls direct-to-consumer revenues. Those revenues rose 19.3% to $633.5 million.

In the previous year's fourth quarter, retail and direct-to-consumer revenues represented 58.1% and 41.9% of the total, respectively.

In the most recent quarter, direct-to-consumer revenues were paced by Pottery Barn, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn Kids, while retail store revenue growth was led by West Elm and Pottery Barn.
Fourth-quarter profits totaled $133.7 million or $1.34 per share. That was up from $122.6 million or $1.17 per share in the comparable period the previous year.

Profit and revenue growth in the 53-week fiscal year ended Feb. 3 followed a similar pattern as the fourth quarter. Total revenues rose 8.6% from the previous 52-week fiscal year to $4.04 billion, while profits rose 8.4% to $256.7 million, or $2.54 per share.

For the most recent year, direct-to-consumer revenues were up 14.5% to $1.87 billion, while revenues from traditional retail stores were up 4.1% to $2.17 billion.

Alber said revenues should be $4.2 billion to $4.28 billion in the current fiscal year, and projected earnings per share at $2.65 to $2.75.

"We remain excited about the opportunities to more than double the size of our business over the next decade, while returning cash to our shareholders and increasing shareholder value," she said.

As of Feb. 3, the company had 581 retail stores, including 253 Williams-Sonoma, 192 Pottery Barn, 84 Pottery Barn Kids, 48 West Elm, and four Rejuvenation stores.
In addition to the earnings announcement, the company announced that its board of directors had approved a 41% hike in the quarterly cash dividend and a new $750 million stock repurchase program.

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