Surging online demand give big boost to Williams-Sonoma Q1 sales

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Surging online demand give big boost to Williams-Sonoma Q1 sales

By Marianne Wilson - 05/29/2020

Williams-Sonoma reported an unexpected increase in comparative sales as consumers stuck at home shopped online for furniture and other household goods.

The company, whose brands include Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm, said net income fell to $35.4 million or $0.45 per share in the quarter ended May 3, from $52.6 million or $0.66   per share, a year earlier. Excluding items, the company earned $0. 74 per share.

Net revenues came in at $1.235 billion, which was relatively flat to last year despite all of the company’s 616 stores being closed for more than half of the quarter. The results were driven by a 30% increase in e-commerce sales. 

Total same-store sales rose 2.6%, with positive comparable   growth in almost all brands, including Pottery Barn Kids and Teen at 8.5%, Williams Sonoma at 5.4% and West Elm at 3.3%

“Our large e-commerce business had breakout comp growth in the second half of the quarter and continues to accelerate,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO, Williams-Sonoma. “Reflecting on the longer term, this crisis has accelerated our industry’s shift to e-commerce, and given rise to a newfound appreciation for the home. We believe that with our differentiated value proposition of sustainable, design-led products and a powerful digital-first platform, we are well-positioned."

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, commented that Williams-Sonoma’s well-established digital expertise allowed it to quickly lean into e-commerce once its stores closed and retain the vast majority of its sales.

“The group was extremely proactive in doubling down on its advantage over other retailers,” the analyst said. “During the lockdown, a whole host of services and functions were added including virtual design chats with experts, an ask the expert chat service for the Williams Sonoma brand, and a range of enhanced virtual design options. This meant customers already in the process of undertaking larger home projects could continue with their plans, and it made Williams-Sonoma’s brands attractive to those who decided to start home redesigns during the lockdown period.” For more analysis, click here.

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