May 30, 2003, 12:00 AM

Web sales growth at Williams-Sonoma outpaces total growth nearly 5-1

Web-based sales at Williams-Sonoma increased 58% in the first quarter from Q1 2002, reaching $60.2 million from $38.1 million a year earlier. Companywide revenue grew 12.2% in the quarter.

Web-based sales at Williams-Sonoma Inc. accounted for 11.2% of all first quarter revenue, up from 8% a year ago, the company reports. Web-based sales increased 58% in the first quarter from the first quarter of 2002, reaching $60.2 million from $38.1 million a year earlier. Companywide revenue grew 12.2% in the quarter to $536.8 million from $487.4 million. Catalog revenue for the period was down 1.3% to $138.4 million from $140.2 million.

During the quarter, Williams-Sonoma launched Pottery Barn Teen catalog, and accelerated the growth of the West Elm catalog. “The consumer response to both Pottery Barn Teen and West Elm has exceeded our expectations,” says Howard Lester, chairman.

Net earnings for the quarter were $13.4 million vs. $15.4 million for the first quarter of 2002. Comparable store sales were down 0.8%.

Williams-Sonoma operates the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Hold Everything, Chambers and West Elm retail brands. It operates 487 stores, eight catalogs and four web sites.

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