Direct Sales Slide on Circ Cuts at Williams-Sonoma

Kitchen and home furnishings merchant Williams-Sonoma saw its second-quarter direct-to-consumer sales sink nearly 24%, to $272 million, compared with $356.4 million in the second quarter last year.

The cataloger/retailer’s same-store sales fell 15%. Net revenue for the quarter decreased 18%, to $672 million, compared to $819.6 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2008.

Williams-Sonoma’s Internet revenue decreased 21%, to $210 million, compared to $265.1 million last year. Retail net revenue decreased 13.6%, to $400 million, in the second quarter.

While Williams-Sonoma did post net income of $399,000, this was a far cry from its profit of $18.4 million in the second quarter last year. The company reduced its catalog circulation by 19%, part of its circ optimization strategy launched last year.

Howard Lester, chairman/CEO of the San Francisco-based marketer, said in a release that the elimination of 1.2 million sq. ft. of distribution capacity and 80,000 sq. ft. of leased office space will be completed by the end of the third quarter.

“These initiatives will reduce future infrastructure pretax costs by approximately $13 million annually,” Lester said. “We also increased projected permanent store closings by the end of the year from nine to 16.”

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