Williams-Sonoma pushes personalized marketing

Boosts guidance after best 1Q in its history

Retail Editor 3, May 22, 2012

San Francisco - Williams-Sonoma Inc. is moving aggressively with technology that personalizes the offerings that pop up when a consumer visits one of its web sites as well as promotions sent through email.
Personalized online offers generate four times the response that a general landing page does, and personalized email offerings draw 10 times better response, evp and chief marketing officer Pat Connelly said during this morning's quarterly corporate call with analysts.
"We're really just getting started," he added.
On the international front, the company will open its first stores in Kuwait during the first half - a Williams-Sonoma, a West Elm and a PBTeen - and expects to operate 18 by the end of the year.
In the U.S., West Elm and Pottery Barn drove results during the first quarter, with textiles among the better categories. Sales wobbled a PBTeen, but home textiles did a double-digit business as the company expanded the design asthetic. Pottery Barn kids also had an off quarter - primarily because the introduction of bedding and baby products swamped supply and left a backlog of orders, executives said.
The company logged its strongest first quarter in history, beating Wall Street's expectations. Williams-Sonoma Inc.'s net earnings were $30.7 million, or 30 cents per share, more than double the year-ago period's net income of $13.6 million, or 29 cents per share. Excluding one-time charges, EPS was 34 cents.
Total sales rose 6.1% to $818 million, with consolidated comp up 5.4%. Internet/catalog revenue accounted for 45.8% of sales.
By nameplate, comps rose 22.1% at West Elm and 9.1% at Pottery Barn. Comps fell 0.8% at Pottery Barn Kinds, 3.2% at Williams-Sonoma and 6.0% at PBTeen.
The company raised its fiscal year guidance to adjusted earnings of between $2.42 and $2.49 per share. It had previously forecasted EPS of $2.37 to $2.47.


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