July 8, 2013, 2:07 PM

E-commerce drives first quarter growth at Williams-Sonoma

Web sales rise about 18%, the home furnishings retailer says.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Online sales at Williams-Sonoma Inc. rose about 18.0% year over year in the home furnishing retailer’s first fiscal quarter, outpacing the 8.6% growth in total net revenue, the company says. First quarter online sales in 2013 reached about $381.37 million, up from $323.49 million for the comparable period last year. The retailer’s first fiscal quarter this year ended May 5; the year-earlier quarter ended April 29.

E-commerce sales accounted for “more than 91%,” of total direct-to-consumer net revenue, chief financial officer Julie Whalen said in a conference call with analysts, according to a transcript provided by Seeking Alpha. That direct revenue increased  11.9% in the quarter to $419.08 million from $374.41 million a year earlier. Whalen referred in the call to a “high-teen” percentage growth in e-commerce sales, but the company didn’t provide a more specific figure on that call or or in its quarterly financial statement.

By comparison, Q1 2012 e-commerce sales of $323.49 million accounted for 86.4% of total direct-to-consumer sales of $374.41 million, the company said last year.

Williams-Sonoma, No. 22 in the 2013 edition of the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, operated 587 stores at the end of the Q1 2013, along with e-commerce sites and catalogs for its several brands: Pottery Barn, Pottery Kids, PBteen, Williams-Sonoma, Williams-Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation, Mark and Graham, and West Elm.

The retailer also reported the following for the thirteen weeks ended May 5:

● Web sales were 43.0% of total net revenue, compared with 39.6% a year earlier;

● Total net revenue rose 8.6% year over year to $887.81 million from $817.61 million;

● Net earnings rose 28.5% year over year to $39.47 million from $30.72 million;

● Comparable revenue, which includes revenue from all stores and e-commerce sites and catalogs in operation at least one year by the end of the quarter, increased 7.2%;

● The company reported comparable revenue for five of its brands, each showing the following year-over-year increases: 7.6% at Pottery Barn, 1.9% at Williams-Sonoma, 6.9% at Pottery Barn Kids, 11.8% at West Elm, and 16.1% at PBteen.

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