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Williams-Sonoma Online Sales Surpass $1 Billion

Multiformat home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma posted web sales of $1.1 billion in 2007, an increase of 18.6% from web sales of $927.6 million in 2006 — breaking into the top echelon of online merchants, according to e-commerce news publisher Internet Retailer.

E-commerce continues as the fastest growing channel for Williams-Sonoma, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. In comparison to online sales, overall sales at the company grew by just 5.9% in 2007, to $3.94 billion from $3.72 billion in 2006.

Two other major merchandisers of home textiles are featured in the billion-dollar-club, according to Internet Retailer.

Sears Holdings, with overall 2007 online sales of $2.3 billion, is in the top 10 online sellers. Final research is not complete on the entire 2007 listing, but Internet Retailer editor Kurt Peters said JCPenney posted $1.3 billion in 2006 online sales.

At Williams-Sonoma, e-commerce last year made up 28% of total sales — but represented 81% of all revenue growth across stores, the web and catalog, the retailer said. And with an eye on the competition, the home furnishings specialty merchant is determined to be a moving target.

"We will expand our e-commerce support, including natural and paid search and targeted electronic direct marketing," Williams-Sonoma chairman and ceo Howard Lester recently told analysts.

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