Williams-Sonoma Net Rises 10 Percent; Company to Open First Stores Outside of North America



SAN FRANCISCO-Along with reporting a double-digit increase in net income for the second quarter, Williams-Sonoma said it would open its first stores outside of North America in early fiscal year 2013.

The stores will be located in the Exchange Building in Sydney, Australia, in a 22,000 square-foot space. The space is located in 466-472 Oxford Street Mall, Bondi Junction—a site that “possesses the key elements for success” of the company’s first expansion outside of North America, according to Laura Albers, Williams-Sonoma’s president and CEO. “It offers us a central shopping location with easy access for pedestrians and commuters, as well as the perfect amount of space to introduce our brands to Australia.”

The company’s net income in the second quarter, which ended on July 29, rose 10.4 percent to $43.4 million on a total sales gain of 7.3 percent to $874.3 million. The direct-to-customer segment provided most of the fuel for the sales increase, with a gain of 12.6 percent in the quarter.

In a conference call yesterday with industry analysts, Albers said she was encouraged by the year-over-year increases from all of the company’s nameplates, in particular West Elm (up 16 percent) and Pottery Barn (up 12 percent). Regarding product categories, small electrics, tabletop, furniture, textiles and decorative accessories turned in strong results throughout the nameplates, Albers said.

The company’s gross margin in the quarter picked up 40 basis points to 38.3 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 8.1 percent in dollars and 20 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 30.2 percent.