Financial Reports: Williams-Sonoma, Talbots

Disappointing Direct Sales Eat Into William-Sonoma Profits

San Francisco—Kitchenware, bedding, and home decor cataloger/retailer Williams-Sonoma is blaming disappointing third- and fourth-quarter catalog sales for a 17% drop in annual net earnings. Nonetheless, overall direct-to-customer sales grew 33% for the year, to $685.2 million, led by the company’s Websites and its Pottery Barn Bed & Bath, Pottery Barn Kids, and Chambers catalogs. Total annual sales grew 25%.

For the year ended Jan. 28, the company reported net earnings of $56.8 million on net revenue of $1.83 billion, including $105.0 million in shipping fees. For fiscal 1999, net earnings were $68.1 million on net revenue of $1.46 billion, including $76.0 million in shipping fees.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000, catalog and e-commerce sales were $226.0 million, up 20% from $188.7 million the previous fourth quarter. Total net sales rose 19%, to $673.2. Fourth-quarter net earnings fell 9%, to $44.5 million

Talbots Profits Nearly Double

Hingham, MA—Women’s apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots managed to nearly double its annual net income in fiscal 2000, to $115.2 million from $58.5 million in 1999. For the 53 weeks ended Feb. 3, total net sales were nearly $1.60 billion, up 22% from $1.31 billion for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 29, 2000. Annual catalog sales rose 29%, to $269.0 million from $208.8 million.

During the fourth quarter, catalog sales soared 43%, to $85.4 million from $59.7 million the previous year. Total fourth-quarter net sales grew 24%, to $473.1 million. And fourth-quarter net income more than doubled, from $15.3 million to $33.0 million.