Positive Q3 Comp Sales Lead Williams-Sonoma To Better Than Expected Results


Third quarter net revenue at Williams-Sonoma, Inc., was down 3.9%, but company officials said the drop was less than anticipated.

For the quarter ended November 1, company wide sales were $729 million, down from sales of $752 million for the comparable quarter the previous year. Company-wide comparable store sales increased 1.7%.

“Throughout the quarter, we saw a progressively stronger than anticipated consumer response to our merchandise and marketing strategies, which resulted in significantly improved selling margins,” said Howard Lester, the company’s chairman/CEO. “We also saw ongoing benefit from our cost containment and inventory management initiatives, all of which contributed to a $206 million increase in our cash balance versus last year.”

Retail net revenues for the third quarter increased 0.9% to $428 million versus $424 million the same quarter the previous year. This increase was driven by a 1.7% increase in comparable store sales and a 2.2% year-over-year increase in retail leased square footage including four net new stores. The Pottery Barn and West Elm brands had year-over-year revenue increases, while net revenues in the Pottery Barn Kids, Williams-Sonoma and Williams-Sonoma Home brands declined during the quarter.

Direct-to-customer net revenues for the quarter decreased 8.1% to $301 million versus $328 million the third quarter of 2008. All brands had declining net revenues during the quarter, led primarily by Pottery Barn, West Elm, Pottery Barn Kids and Williams-Sonoma Home. Internet revenues in the third quarter decreased 7.0% to $230 million versus $247 million the third quarter of 2008.