Williams-Sonoma Earnings Soar

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Williams-Sonoma, San Francisco, posted a 74 percent increase in earnings to $41.3 million for fiscal 1997 ended Feb. 1, from $22.7 million for the same period last year. W. Howard Lester, chairman and CEO, attributed the increase in profitability to improved gross margin and improved selling, general and administrative expense rates compared with the prior year. Net sales grew 15 percent to $933.3 million from $811.8 million the previous year. Mail-order sales increased 14.1 percent to $331.5 million, from $298.2 million the previous year. For the fourth quarter, net sales rose 13 percent to $370.4 million, from $327.7 million for the same quarter last year. Mail-order sales rose 8.2 percent to $121.9 million for the quarter from $112.6 million.

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