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Williams-Sonoma expanding ecommerce, international growth

San Francisco - Internet and catalog sales grew to 44% of total revenues for Williams-Sonoma Inc. in 2011 and the company expects non-store sales to account for 50% of sales in the next three years.
This year, the company will expand its international shipping operation from 75 countries to 99, president and ceo Laura Alber said during the company's quarterly conference call yesterday.
"The largest new opportunity that we see in our future is global expansion," she added. "We currently attract a significant number of foreign nationals to our stores and websites, who frequently encourage us to open in their communities."
The company will also broaden add to its 13 franchise locations in the Middle East with five more stores, including the first Williams-Sonoma, PBteen and West Elm stores outside of the Americas.
Williams-Sonoma reported an 8.1% increase in fiscal fourth quarter net profit, driven in part by impressive e-commerce and catalog sales gains for its Pottery Barn and West Elm brands.
For the year, the company posted an 18.3% gain in net earnings to $236.9 million and a 6.2% increase in net revenues to $3.72 billion. Comparable brand revenues increased 7.3%.
Williams-Sonoma's biggest gains came from its non-store business, as fourth quarter direct-to-customer net revenue increased 13.8% to $531 million, led by Pottery Barn and West Elm. E-commerce revenues jumped 18.1% to $465 million.

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