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Williams-Sonoma Drops Hold Everything

The Hold Everything brand apparently doesn't hold water. Parent company Williams-Sonoma Inc. said yesterday that it will cease all marketing under the Hold Everything brand name by the end of 2006.

But the San Francisco-based parent of such other multichannel home décor brands as Pottery Barn and West Elm said it will find a home for Hold Everything's upscale home organization products with its other brands.

“We have concluded that, although there is significant growth potential in the merchandising categories offered in the Hold Everything brand, it is strategically and financially advantageous for us to capitalize on these opportunities by leveraging the marketing authority, multichannel expertise and scale of our other brands, particularly Pottery Barn and West Elm,” Williams-Sonoma chairman Howard Lester said in a statement.

The Hold Everything catalog was never a force in the organization/storage solutions niche, Donald R. Libey, president of Libey Inc., which is an adviser and an intermediary to direct marketing firms, told DM News.

The catalog has 157,000 12-month buyers whose average age is 45. The median income exceeds $100,000. A Hold Everything Web site, holdeverything.com, launched as recently as November 2004.

That Williams-Sonoma plans to redistribute the products into other catalogs and retail outlets “would indicate an economic consolidation because the cost to acquire new customers is too high and the cost to print and mail the catalogs is too high for the response and profitability of the business,” Libey said. “Either there is insufficient response or average order value for the catalog to stand alone, or there is insufficient multiple buyers to justify the new customer acquisition investment.”

Williams-Sonoma likely will continue to offer the Hold Everything list until there are no more updates, at which point it probably will become available for a one-time, non-exclusive fee.

This is the second brand that Williams-Sonoma eliminated in recent years. The company mailed the last issue of linens catalog Chambers in July 2004 shortly before starting Williams-Sonoma Home, a home furnishings catalog. In 2005, the company opened the first Williams-Sonoma Home store, of which there now are three.

Also yesterday, Williams-Sonoma Inc. reported holiday sales of $868.7 million for the eight weeks ended Dec. 25, a 12 percent gain over last year. Same-store sales rose 4.5 percent in the period. Direct-to-consumer sales for the holiday period increased 16.4 percent to $317.7 million.

Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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