SAN FRANCISCO-In what Laura Alber, president and CEO, called the company’s best first quarter in its history, Williams-Sonoma added 28.5 percent to its net income, which totaled $39.5 million.
Sales gains helped drive the increase in the bottom line in the quarter, which ended on May 5. Overall net revenues were up 8.6 percent to $887.8 million. All of Williams-Sonoma’s brands recorded comparable-brand revenue increases (which the company defines as the combination of retail same-store sales and direct-to-customer sales), led by PBteen with a 16.1 percent pickup and West Elm with a gain of 11.8 percent.
Gross margin was off 20 basis points at 37.6 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 4 percent but were down 130 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 30.5 percent.
In a conference call to retail financial analysts yesterday, Alber said Williams-Sonoma made progress in the quarter with all of the long-term objectives it spelled out in March—which included growing its existing brands, launching new businesses and expanding globally. Regarding the latter, she referred to the opening of its first four retail locations—a Williams-Sonoma, a Pottery Barn, a West Elm and a Pottery Barn Kids—and four e-commerce sites in Australia.
Alber also referred to the separate announcement the company issued yesterday, which detailed the signing of new leases for an additional West Elm store in Melbourne and a store in London in the United Kingdom. The latter will be the first West Elm store in Europe. Speaking to the analysts, Alber said these stores and websites represented “a significant milestone in our global expansion strategy.”