March 22, 2006, 12:00 AM

Williams-Sonoma web sales grow 36% in 2005

Williams-Sonoma grew web sales 36.5% in 2005 to $766.3 million from $561.2 million in 2004. Total sales grew 12.3% to $3.59 billion.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. turned in another strong e-commerce performance for the fourth quarter and 2005.

In 2005 Williams-Sonoma, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, grew web sales 36.5% to $766.3 million from $561.2 million in 2004. At the same time, 2005 total sales grew 12.3% to $3.59 billion from $3.1 billion in fiscal 2004.

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%. Overall the web accounted for 22% of total in sales in 2005 compared with 18% in 2004.

Web sales are increasing in large measure because of the company’s strong multi-channel brands, according to Williams-Sonoma. “Approximately 60% of Internet revenue is generated by customers who recently received a catalog,” the company says.

But despite the overall growth in direct market sales to $1.5 billion in 2005-a 13.6% increase over combined catalog and web sales of $1.3 billion in 2004-Williams-Sonoma is closing down its Hold Everything brand, which sells home décor, storage and home accessories products. 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 in 2004.

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.

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