May 31, 2006, 12:00 AM

Eclipsing the catalog

A strong multi-channel program helped Williams-Sonoma Inc. drive web sales to almost $800 million in 2005.

In its recently released annual report, Williams-Sonoma says about 60% of its annual e-commerce revenue, which totaled $766 million in 2005, up 36% from $561.2 billion in 2004, is driven by customers receiving catalogs. In the fourth quarter Williams-Sonoma posted web sales of $242.5 million vs. $178.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2004, an increase of 35.7%.

To drive sales in 2006, Williams-Sonoma plans to publish almost 400 million catalogs. “During 2005 we mailed over 385 million catalogs, significantly expanded our electronic direct marketing and continued to enhance the functionality of our e-commerce site,” Williams-Sonoma says. “E-commerce revenue, for the first time in our history, exceeded catalog revenue due to the successful multi-channel impact of these growth initiatives.”

In the third quarter, the company plans to launch Williams-Sonoma Home, a new e-commerce initiative aimed at the housewares and home furnishings market. Overall the web represented about 22% of Williams-Sonoma’s total sales of $3.5 billion in 2005 compared with 18% on sales of $3.1 billion in 2004.

While e-commerce is helping Williams-Somona to grow, the company also is consolidating its Hold Everything brand, which sells home décor, storage and home accessories products via a web site, stores and a catalog. Hold Everything was one of Williams-Sonoma’s oldest multi-channel brands but a relative newcomer to e-commerce.

The company mailed the first Hold Everything catalog in 1983 and opened the first store in 1985, but only launched HoldEverything.com in 2004. “We intend to begin transitioning Hold Everything`s merchandising strategies into our other brands while we wind down our current Hold Everything retail and direct-to-customer operations,” said Williams-Sonoma chairman Howard Lester. “We expect to cease all marketing under the Hold Everything brand name by the end of 2006.”

Williams-Sonoma took a pre-tax charge of $13.5 million in the fourth quarter to close and consolidate Hold Everything into its other operations, the company says.

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

From IR Blogs

FPO

Tony DiCostanzo / B2B E-Commerce

B2B e-commerce in a B2C world

Companies that sell online to other companies can learn a lot from looking at the ...

FPO

Vebeka Guess / E-Commerce

Three online shopping trends to note this holiday season

Lessons from the 2013 holiday season point the way for effective marketing tactics in the ...

Advertisement