Catalog, Web Boost Sales at Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma Inc. saw its fourth-quarter net income climb 28 percent, thanks partly to higher catalog circulation and expanded direct marketing, the San Francisco company said yesterday.

Net earnings for the 13 weeks ended Feb. 1 were $102.1 million versus $79.8 million a year ago. Net revenue, including shipping fees, increased 16.9 percent to $1 billion versus $859 million last year.

“Operationally in 2003, we deepened our commitment to multichannel retailing by launching our newest concept, PBTeen, in both the catalog and Internet and by expanding our West Elm concept into both the retail and Internet channels,” CEO Ed Mueller said in a statement.

Direct-to-consumer net sales, including catalog and Internet, in the fourth quarter were up 26.3 percent to $322.2 million from $255.2 million a year ago. The company said higher sales in the Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids brands drove the increase. Internet sales in the fourth quarter skyrocketed 74 percent.

Net earnings for FY '03 were up 26.4 percent to $157.2 million from $124.4 million a year ago, while net revenue rose 16.7 percent to $2.75 billion versus $2.36 billion last year. For the year, DTC net sales jumped 21.1 percent to $966.4 million.

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