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Williams-Sonoma: Direct Sales on Track to Eclipse Stores

CHICAGO - Williams-Sonoma Inc.'s direct to consumer (DTC) sales will shortly outpace contributions from brick-and-mortar sales - a pattern the multi-nameplate home furnishings company expects to repeat as it ramps up international expansion.
     During the recent quarter, Pottery Barn's DTC business generated almost as much revenue as its 202 retail stores, and PBKids' drew more than half its revenue from direct, according to Sharon McCollam, evp, coo and cfo.
     Contributions from mobile device sales grew to 5% of all ecommerce sales during the quarter, she said during the William Blair & Co. 31st Annual Growth Stock Conference here last week.
     No competitor is as well poised to leverage the growing ecommerce channel with its increasing number of touch points, she said, "because we have more than 30 years of direct experience. We also have scale. We also have a powerful portfolio of brands."
     She continued: "There are significant barriers to entry that makes it very difficult for bricks only or clicks-only to enter our space."
     Direct also serves as the company's most powerful marketing tool, she said. This year, Williams- Sonoma Inc. will distribute more than 265 million catalogs and 2.6 billion emails as well as 25 billion e-marketing impressions, she said.
     Internet Retailer, a trade magazine, recently ranked it 25th largest DTC retailer in the U.S. across all categories and No. 1 in the home furnishings category.
     "We are nearly as big [in the home furnishings category] as the next five competitors combined," she added.

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