Williams-Sonoma Q1 Direct Sales Up 11%, Internet Up 58%

Williams-Sonoma Inc., San Francisco, said yesterday its first quarter direct-to-customer net sales, including catalog and Internet, amounted to $198.6 million, up 11.4 percent compared with $178.3 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2002. The company said the increase was primarily driven by net sales generated in the Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids brands, along with incremental sales in the West Elm and Pottery Barn Teen catalogs. Internet sales skyrocketed 58 percent, reaching $60.2 million compared with $38.1 million a year ago.

Not all of the news was good as the company’s net earnings were down from $15.4 million in 2002 to 13.4 million this year, and comparable store sales dropped 0.8 percent. However, net earnings for the quarter were better than expected, Williams Sonoma said.

Net revenue was up 12.2 percent to $536.8 million compared to $478.4 million in the year-ago period. Retail net sales improved 13.3 percent to $303.1 million while $267.6 million was posted a year ago.

· Casual Male Retail Group Inc., Canton, MA, reported results for the quarter ended May 3 that include the effect, since May 14, 2002, of the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Casual Male Corp. and certain subsidiaries. On a consolidated basis, it posted a net loss of about $2.8 million compared to a net loss of $1.8 million in the year-ago period. Sales from continuing operations amounted to $99.7 million compared to $32.3 million for the like period last year. The Casual Male multichannel business — which includes its stores, catalog and e-commerce operations — contributed $72.8 million, or approximately 73 percent, of the company's total sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2004.

· The Bombay Company Inc., Fort Worth, TX, announced late Wednesday that revenue in the quarter ended May 3 reached $119.2 million compared to $90.9 million during the quarter ended May 4, 2002. Same-store sales for stores in existence more than one year increased 25 percent in the quarter while revenue from non-store activity represented 9 percent of total revenue for the quarter compared to 7 percent during the first quarter of the previous year. The net loss for the quarter ended May 3 totaled $1.3 million compared to a loss of $3.4 million in the same period a year ago.

· Sharper Image Corp., San Francisco, posted record revenue and earnings for its first quarter ended April 30.

Revenue increased 27 percent to $119.8 million from last year's $94.1 million. Store sales rose 32 percent to $65.8 million from $50 million, and comparable-store sales were up 19 percent.

Catalog sales climbed 16 percent to $34.3 million from last year's $29.6 million as Internet sales ballooned 42 percent to $16.9 million from $11.9 million.

First-quarter net earnings of $682,000 represented a 358 percent jump from last year's $149,000.

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