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Williams-Sonoma Direct Sales Rise 27.5%

Williams-Sonoma Inc. announced results yesterday for its third quarter ended Nov. 2, including a net earnings increase of 57.7 percent to $23.9 million compared with $15.1 million in the 2002 third quarter and a rise in net revenue of 19.9 percent to $632.8 million.

Retail net sales increased 14.8 percent to $351.4 million versus $306.1 million a year ago. Direct-to-customer net sales — which include catalog and Internet net sales — climbed 27.5 percent to $239.3 million. Internet net sales skyrocketed 71.4 percent to $82.4 million.

The San Francisco company said that for the fourth quarter it planned to increase catalog prospecting in all of its brands. Catalog circulation is projected to rise 17 percent to 19 percent compared with previous guidance of 15 percent to 17 percent.

In other news:

· Sharper Image Corp., San Francisco, said that for the three months ended Oct. 31, total company revenue increased 24 percent to $131.1 million from last year's $106.1 million. Total store sales rose 24 percent to $70.7 million, and comparable-store sales climbed 10 percent. Catalog sales increased 20 percent to $39.8 million, and Internet sales ballooned 36 percent to $17.4 million from $12.8 million. Third-quarter net earnings of $985,000 improved over last year's net loss of $504,000.

· PETsMART Inc., Phoenix, said that in its third quarter ended Nov. 2, net income totaled $29.6 million compared with $20.6 million in last year's third quarter. Net sales in the quarter totaled $733.7 million versus $657.4 million for that period in 2002. Comparable-store sales for stores open at least a year grew 7.5 percent. Pet services sales in the third quarter were $46.8 million, up $10 million, or 27.3 percent.

· Casual Male Retail Group Inc., Canton, MA, said that for the quarter ended Nov. 1, it posted a net loss of about $1.2 million on a consolidated basis compared with a net loss of $300,000 a year ago. The company's Casual Male business reported operating income of about $1.3 million compared with $2.4 million last year.

· Limited Brands, Columbus, OH, reported 2003 third-quarter results, which included operating income of $42.2 million versus $17.3 million last year; comparable-store sales for the quarter ended Nov. 1 up 2 percent; and net sales of $1.85 billion, 4 percent higher than last year's $1.77 billion.

· Restoration Hardware Inc., Corte Madera, CA, posted net revenues of $95.8 million in the quarter ended Nov. 1, a 6 percent increase compared with $90.8 million for the same period a year ago. Comparable store sales for the third quarter increased 2.9 percent. Direct-to-customer sales, which include catalog and Internet, increased 46 percent to $16 million. Despite the gains, the company's third-quarter net loss was $2.9 million compared to $2.4 million in the third quarter of 2002.

· Nordstrom Inc., Seattle, reported net earnings of $45.5 million in the third quarter that ended Nov. 1. During the same period last year, net earnings totaled $18.4 million. Net sales for the third quarter increased 9.8 percent to $1.4 billion compared to sales of $1.3 billion in the same period last year. Third quarter 2003 same-store sales increased 5 percent.

· The Bombay Company Inc., Fort Worth, TX, said Nov. 19 that revenue for the three months ended Nov. 1 was up 19 percent to $135.4 million from $113.8 million in the three months ended Nov. 2, 2002. Same-store sales for Bombay stores open more than a year rose 13 percent. However, a net loss was reported for its third quarter of $148,000 compared with net income of $84,000 for the corresponding period of the prior year.

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