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Holiday Sales Flat at Williams-Sonoma


San Francisco, Williams-Sonoma said same-store sales over the eight-week holiday period were flat compared with a year ago. Total sales for the eight weeks ended Dec. 26 rose 7.3% to $775.9 million, which the retailer said was below its expectations, largely due to a weaker-than-expected response to holiday marketing of its Pottery Barn brand. Retail sales for the holiday period increased 6.9% to $501.1 million from $468.9 million last year.

“While our overall same-store sales results were below our expectations, we were encouraged by the retail sales momentum in the Williams-Sonoma brand in the holiday period,” said Howard Lester, chairman.”

Williams-Sonoma said that a significant year-over-year increase in pre-holiday gift-card sales and a greater-than-expected shift in retail sales into the week after Christmas also drove results below plan.

Looking ahead, Williams-Sonoma said it expects fiscal 2005 revenue to grow by a low double-digit to mid-teen percentage, with earnings up by a mid-teen to high-teen percentage.

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