November 21, 2003, 12:00 AM

Q3 web sales shoot up 71.4% at Williams-Sonoma

Web sales continue to outpace catalog and total sales at housewares retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc., rising 71.4% in the third quarter to $82.4 million, from $48 million a year ago. By comparison, comp store sales rose 5.6%.

Web sales skyrocketed at housewares retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc. in the third quarter, rising 71.4% to $82.4 million, up from $48 million a year ago. Q3 web sales accounted for 23.4% of total Q3 sales, up from 15.7% in the year-ago quarter.

CEO Ed Mueller attributed part of the increase in web sales to the opening during the quarter the Pottery Barn Teen and West Elm web sites.

Overall Q3 sales grew 14.8% year-over-year to $351.4 million from $306.1 million, while comparable store sales increased 5.6%. Williams-Sonoma added 39 stores to its chain between Q3 2002 and Q3 this year.

William-Sonoma said Q3 net earnings grew 57.7% to $23.9 million, up from $15.1 million a year ago.

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