E-retailers must focus on their specific goals and examine a vendor’s reputation and market expertise, not referrals.
It was a tough year on the web for Williams-Sonoma Inc. Web sales for Williams-Sonoma fell by 6.4% in 2008, while total sales declined by 14.7% and comparable-store sales dropped by 17.2%.
It was a tough fourth quarter and 2008 on the web for Williams-Sonoma Inc.
For the year, web sales for Williams-Sonoma fell by 6.4% to $1.03 billion from $1.1 billion in 2007. In 2008, total sales declined by 14.7% to $3.36 billion from $3.94 billion in 2007. Retail store sales dropped year over year by 14% to $1.96 billion from $2.28 billion as comparable-store sales declined by 17.2%.
In 2008 the web accounted for 31% of all sales vs. 28% in 2007. The Internet and e-commerce also represented 74% of 2008 direct-to-consumer sales, which declined by 16.2% to $1.40 billion from $1.67 billion in the prior year. Catalog sales for Williams-Sonoma, No. 21 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, decreased in 2008 by 24.6% to $430 million from $570 million in 2007. Net earnings declined to $30 million in 2008 from $195.8 million in 2007.
For the fourth quarter, e-commerce revenue declined by 27.1% to $269 million from $369 million as total sales dropped by 26.3% to $1.01 billion from $1.37 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. Retail stores sales in Q4 decreased by 24.3% to $641.3 million from $846.6 million in the prior year, while comparable-store sales declined by 22.3%. In the fourth quarter, the web represented 27% of total sales, the same as in the prior year period. Direct-to-consumer sales decreased by 30.5% to $367 million from $527.8 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year. Catalog sales declined by 38.3% to $98 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 from $158.9 million in Q4 of 2007. Net earnings dropped year over year from $124.6 million to $12.2 million.
“While the fourth quarter ended better than we expected due to increased promotional activity and tight expense controls, the retail environment overall was very weak,” says Williams-Sonoma CEO Howard Lester.