Williams-Sonoma Says, Hold Everything

In the same Jan. 12 press release in which it announced a 12% rise in holiday sales, Williams-Sonoma said that it would phase out its Hold Everything brand. The San Francisco-based company will shut its Hold Everything stores, catalog, and Website by the end of the year.

Specializing in home storage accessories and furniture, Hold Everything is appreciably smaller than Williams-Sonoma’s core brands, which include home furnishings powerhouse Pottery Barn.

“Although there is significant growth potential in the merchandising categories offered in the Hold Everything brand,” Williams-Sonoma chairman Howard Lester said in a statement, “it is strategically and financially advantageous for us to capitalize on these opportunities by leveraging the marketing authority, multichannel expertise, and scale of our other brands, particularly Pottery Barn and West Elm. Based on this decision, we intend to immediately begin transitioning Hold Everything’s merchandising strategies into our other brands while we wind down our current Hold Everything retail and direct-to-customer operations.”

Craig Battle, managing director of Princeton, NJ-based investment bank Tucker Alexander, says he was caught off guard by the decision. “I guess it underperformed, and some of the products overlapped with Pottery Barn,” he says. “They’re not afraid to go beyond their two brands, but they have a pretty rigorous standard to which they measure it. … When they become disenchanted, they move pretty swiftly.”

The company expects to take an after-tax charge of $10 million-$12 million, most of it in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005, as a result of the shutdown.

Hold Everything has 10 retail stores located in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Washington DC. The Hold Everything catalog has been in circulation since 1983. More than 27 million books were mailed last year.

As for holiday sales, net revenue for the eight weeks ended Dec. 25 totaled $868.7 million, up from $775.9 million for the comparable period of 2004. Catalog and Web sales rose 16%, to $317.7 million from $272.9 million. Comparable store sales grew 4.5%.

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