Financial Reports: Williams-Sonoma, Limited Brands, Brookstone, Blyth

Second-Quarter Direct Sales Up at Williams-Sonoma
San Francisco-based cataloger/retailer Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) rode higher sales for all but one of its catalog brands to higher earnings. The company’s titles include Pottery Barn, Hold Everything, and West Elm.

Net earnings for the 13 weeks ended July 30 were $30.8 million, up 12% from $27.6 million for the second quarter of last year. Net revenue for the quarter increased 13%, to $776.2 million.

Direct-to-customer net revenue also increased 12%, to $342.1 million, driven by the Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and West Elm brands. Only Hold Everything saw a year-over-year drop in sales, due to reduced circulation.

Internet revenue, including sales from the November 2004 launch of the Hold Everything Website, increased 32%, to $172.8 million. The company estimates that about 40% of its non-gift registry Internet revenues are incremental to the direct-to-customer channel and approximately 60% are catalog-driven.

Lower Quarterly Earnings for Limited Brands
Columbus, OH-based Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD), the parent of Victoria’s Secret, reported lower second-quarter earnings on slightly high sales.

Net income fell 24%, to $113.1 million for the 13 weeks ended July 30. Net sales increased 4%, to $2.29 billion. Comparable store sales for the quarter were flat.

With regards to the Victoria’s Secret brand, operating income increased on a 6% sales increase, which includes a 2% comparable increase driven by stores and the direct-to-consumer unit.

Limited Brands plans to launch an e-commerce site in October for its Bath & Body Works retail chain. The site will have an emphasis on gifts, with a “build your own” gift basket interactive tool.

Brookstone’s Second-Quarter Loss Widens
Merrimack, NH-based cataloger/retailer Brookstone reported a net loss of $5.7 million for the 13 weeks ended July 30. This compares with a net loss of $465,000 for the second quarter of last year.

This year’s loss includes a write-off of the assets of Gardeners Eden, as well as related severance costs, totaling $4.1 million. On June 29, Brookstone said it was looking to sell the gardening accessories business.

Catalog and Internet sales for all three of the company’s brands–Hard-to-Find Tools in addition to Brookstone and Gardeners Eden–fell 2%, to $13.1 million, on an 11% reduction in catalog circulation.

Total sales for the second quarter fell 7%, to $87.5 million, while same-store sales decreased 10%.

Catalog and Web Sales Down at Blyth
The catalog and Internet segment of manufacturer/marketer Blyth (NYSE: BTH)–which consists of the Miles Kimball, Exposures, Walter Drake, and Home Marketplace brands–suffered a 2% decline in second-quarter sales. For the 13 weeks ended July 31, the division’s sales were $34.6 million. The company blamed weakness in the Walter Drake housewares title for the dip.

Total Blyth sales rose 1%, to $292.2 million, as wholesale sales from Edelman and Euro-Decor, acquired in September 2004, offset lower sales in Blyth’s direct selling segment. The direct selling division includes the PartyLite brand, which operates on the Tupperware party model.

Net earnings for the quarter were $4.2 million compared with $9.4 million a year earlier.

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