Williams-Sonoma’s online sales increase 6.4% for the year

March 18, 2016 03:23 PM

Online sales for Williams-Sonoma Inc. grew 6.4% for its fiscal year to $2.523 billion from $2.371 billion a year ago.

E-commerce accounted for 51% of Williams-Sonoma’s sales for fiscal 2015, ended Jan. 31. Total sales for the year increased 5.9% to $4.976 billion from $4.699 billion a year ago, the company reported Wednesday.

Growth in the fourth quarter lagged the home goods retailer’s annual e-commerce growth rate, with online sales increasing 2.9% to $791.9 million from $769.8 million in fiscal Q4 2014. Total sales sale for the quarter also increased 2.9% to $1.586 billion from $1.542 billion. E-commerce accounted for 49.9% of Q4 revenue.

Williams-Sonoma, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, is intensifying its efforts to drive traffic and conversions on its e-commerce sites, president and CEO Laura Alber told analysts on the company’s earnings call Wednesday, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. Williams-Sonoma’s brands include Mark and Graham, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, Rejuvenation, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma Home and Williams-Sonoma.

“We are making technology investments to improve our cross channel experience,” Alber said. “In e-commerce we had growth in new customers and improved conversions. In the fourth quarter we are pleased with the continued growth in Williams-Sonoma Home, which is driving incremental sales online and at retail.”

Williams-Sonoma is investing in e-commerce technology, Alber said, though she did not provide details. “We are focused on continuous improvement and customer experience from site functionality to the tools that we give our customer service representatives. We also plan to increase our marketing investment, focusing on new customer acquisition via strong content marketing and personalization,” she said.

The retailer also is reorganizing its supply chain to be more regionalized. “We know that being closer to our customers is the key to faster and lower-cost delivery,” she said. “As part of these plans we are opening a new distribution center in Braselton, Ga., approximately 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. Delivery times to Southeast customers will improve and we expect to see a reduction in outbound freight cost as this [distribution center] will be used for both home deliveries and retail fulfillment.”

Four distribution centers—one each on the West Coast, in the Midwest, the Southeast and on the East Coast—will be key to lower-cost online order fulfillment and damage-free delivery of large furniture as there will be fewer “touches” and movement, Alber told analysts.

For fiscal Q4 ended Jan. 31, Williams-Sonoma also reported:

  • Store sales increased 2.9% to $794.40 million from $772.29 million in the year-ago period.
  • Cost of goods sold increased 6.0% to $978.74 million compared with $923.53 million.
  • Net earnings of $141.13 million compared with $147.04 million.

For fiscal 2015, the retailer also reported:

  • Store sales increased 5.4% to $2.453 billion from $2.328 billion in fiscal 2014.
  • Cost of goods sold increased 8.1% to $3.132 billion from $2.898 billion.
  • Net earnings of $310.07 million compared with $308.85 million.



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