Williams-Sonoma Earnings Rise

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Williams-Sonoma Inc.'s net earnings in the 13 weeks ended Nov. 3 totaled $15.1 million, up from $3.9 million in the 13 weeks ended Oct. 28, 2001, the San Francisco company said yesterday.

Net revenue, including shipping fees, rose 14.2 percent to $527.9 million in the third quarter from $462.1 million in last year's third quarter. Net retail sales jumped 18.8 percent to $306.1 million compared with $257.6 million.

The company operated 477 stores as of Nov. 3, compared with 412 on Oct. 28, 2001. Comparable-store sales increased 2.8 percent in the third quarter compared with a drop of 1.1 percent in the third quarter last year.

Direct-to-customer net sales rose 6.5 percent to $187.7 million in the quarter from $176.2 million in third-quarter 2001. The increase "was primarily driven by growth in the Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn Kids brands and incremental sales from the West Elm catalog launched in the first quarter of 2002," the company said.

The company began a private-label credit card program in the quarter in the retail and direct-to-customer channels of the Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids brands. A third-party credit card provider administers the program, and the company assumes no credit risk.

Year-to-date net earnings in the 39 weeks ended Nov. 3 were $44.6 million, up from $5.7 million in the same period last year. Year-to-date net revenue increased 14.8 percent to $1.5 billion from $1.31 billion, and year-to-date comparable-store sales rose 2.9 percent compared with a drop of 1 percent in the same period a year ago.

In other news, Staples Inc., Framingham, MA, posted net income of $128.02 million in its third quarter ended Nov. 2 compared to $91.31 million during the 13 weeks ended Nov. 3, 2001. Total company sales rose to $3.09 billion, up 9 percent from $2.83 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Overall comparable sales increased 3 percent, and retail-only comparable sales were up more than 1 percent.

Net income for the 39-week period ended Nov. 2 reached $281.44 million compared to $171.17 million in the 39-week period ended Nov. 3, 2001. Sales during the 39-week period ended Nov. 2 amounted to $8.26 billion compared to $7.82 billion in the 39-week period ended Nov. 3, 2001.


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