Online sales gains helped cover slight declines in store sales for Williams-Sonoma Inc., whose brands include Mark and Graham, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, Rejuvenation, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma Home and Williams-Sonoma.
Online sales at Williams-Sonoma Inc. increased 4.4% in fiscal 2016 ended Jan. 29 to $2.63 billion from $2.52 billion in fiscal 2015, the company reported last week. Total sales for the fiscal year were flat at $2.450 billion from $2.454 billion. E-commerce accounted for 51.8% of total sales for the year compared with 50.7% in fiscal 2015.
For the fourth quarter, the retailer said e-commerce sales increased 2.2% to $809 million from $792 million in the year-ago period. Total revenue for the quarter was flat at $1.581 billion compared with $1.586 billion a year ago. E-commerce accounted for 51.1% of total sales for Q4, up from 49.9% in fiscal Q4 2015.
“Entering 2017, we will continue to improve performance and increase our competitive advantage, with a focus on innovation in e-commerce, our products and service, and the retail experience,” CEO Laura Alber said.
“Our digital marketing investments in 2016 included a focus on improving the online shopping experience, particularly in mobile, and increasing online advertising spend across all of our brands,” she said on the earnings call with analysts, according to a SeekingAlpha transcript. “We understand the increasing role that mobile plays in consumer shopping behavior and our investments focused on creating a more friction-free experience have resulted in stronger conversion metrics.”
This year, Williams-Sonoma will continue to invest “heavily” in digital technology and look into offering a buy online, pick up in store service, Alber told analysts, though she offered no additional details on in-store pickup. “We’ll be implementing digital tools such as next-generation product information pages, 3-D product visualization and increased personalization to deepen online engagement of both new and loyal shoppers and to further expand loyalty across our strong and diverse portfolio brands,” she said.
“We’re also building digital campaigns across various social media platforms to inspire our existing customers,” Alber said. “And importantly, we are increasing advertising investments in cross-brand initiatives like key loyalty programs to increase shoppers’ engagement frequency and to drive awareness of our emerging brands and services.”
In addition to its financial results, Williams-Sonoma announced leadership changes at its Pottery Barn brands. Sandra Stangl, president of those brands, is resigning effective March 31. The retailer, in a restructuring move, has named Marta Benson president of the Pottery Barn brand and Jennifer Kellor as president of Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen brands, with both reporting to Alber. Jeff Howie has been named executive vice president and chief administrative officer of the Pottery Barn brands, reporting to Benson and Kellor.
Williams-Sonoma does not break out e-commerce sales by brand but said its Rejuvenation brand for home furnishings and hardware such as drawer pulls and door parts generated double-digit e-commerce and store sales in the quarter. Gifts and accessories brand Mark and Graham also had double-digit sales growth in Q4, Alber said.
For fiscal Q4 ended Jan. 31, Williams-Sonoma also reported:
- Store sales decreased 2.7% to $772.6 million from $794.4 million in the year-ago period.
- Cost of goods sold decreased 2.0% to $959.6 million compared with $978.7 million.
- Net earnings of $144.6 million compared with $141.1 million.
For fiscal 2016, the retailer also reported:
- Store sales were flat at $2.450 billion compared with $2.454 billion in fiscal 2015.
- Cost of goods sold increased 2.2% to $3.20 billion from $3.13 billion.
- Net earnings of $305.4 million compared with $310.1 million.