Financial Reports: Williams-Sonoma, Dover Saddlery, Bombay Co., uBet

Sales, Income Increases Disappointing for Williams-Sonoma
Fourth-quarter catalog and Internet sales for home decor merchant Williams-Sonoma inched up just 2.5%, to $469.1 million for the three months ended Jan. 28. The increase was due to revenue growth from the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, West Elm, and Pottery Barn brands and was partially offset by lost revenue due to the folding of the Hold Everything brand early last year. Total revenue for the quarter was nearly $1.26 billion, up 3% from $1.21 billion the previous fourth quarter. Retail sales for the quarter rose 4%, to $785.8 million. Net earnings for the quarter rose nearly 10%, to $121.1 million.

For the fiscal year, direct-to-consumer sales increased 4.5%, to more than $1.57 billion from less than $1.5 billion for fiscal 2005. Internet sales soared 24%. Total revenue increased 5% for the year, to $3.728 billion, while retail sales grew 6%, to $2.15 billion. Earnings rose 6%, to $208.9 million.

“Although our fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2006 results were not where we expected them to be when we entered the year,” CEO Howard Lester said in a statement, “we do believe they demonstrate our ability to aggressively react to a rapidly changing business climate and our commitment to optimize profitability, even in difficult times.” Lester noted the company’s “key challenges” for fiscal 2007 include “revitalizing” the Pottery Barn brand.

Galloping Quarter, Year, for Dover Saddlery
Fourth-quarter direct sales for Littleton, MA-based Dover Saddlery increased 10%, to $17.0 million for the three months ended Dec. 31. For the full year, combined catalog and Internet sales increased 13%, to $60.2 million compared with $53.3 million in 2005.

Total fourth-quarter revenue grew 16%, to $21.0 million. For fiscal 2006, the cataloger/retailer’s sales increased 17%, to $73.0 million, up from $62.7 million. The company attributed the rise in revenue to the June 2006 acquisition of Chantilly, VA-based retailer Dominion Saddlery.

Fourth-quarter net income for the equestrian supplies merchant jumped 188%, to $600,000. And annual income grew 69%, to $1.4 million.

Bombay Seeks “Strategic Alternatives” as Loss Grows
Decor cataloger/retailer The Bombay Co. posted a meager fourth-quarter sales increase of less than 1%. For the three months ended Feb. 3, revenue totaled $188.2 million. Same-store sales slipped 3%, and overall retail sales fell 2%, to $174.5 million. But catalog and Internet sales for the quarter climbed 52%, to $13.4 million from $8.8 million, driven primarily by the Web. The Fort Worth, TX-based company posted a net loss of $1.7 million for the quarter, but that’s considerably less than the previous year’s fourth-quarter loss of $25.1 million.

For fiscal 2006, revenue decreased 5%, to $536.3 million. Same-store sales fell 5%, and total retail revenue dropped 6%, to $498.6 million from $531.8 million.

Direct sales jumped 44%, to $34.6 million from $24.0 million, largely do to increased Internet sales. The company’s net loss grew from last year’s $46.7 million to $52.8 million. In a statement, officials said it has hired William Blair & Co. to “explore strategic alternatives that would provide additional liquidity.”

UBid Cuts Its Losses
Online auction business uBid.com posted a net loss of $170,000 for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, considerably less than the $2.6 million loss for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005. For fiscal 2006, the Chicago-based company lost $7.6 million, down from a net loss of $9.0 million in fiscal 2005.

Fourth-quarter revenue fell 32%, to $13.0 million from $19.2 million. For fiscal 2006, revenue slipped 21%, to $66.5 million from $84.5 million in fiscal 2005.

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