SAN FRANCISCO-Williams-Sonoma began its fiscal year with a 2.8 percent decline in net income, which totaled $30.7 million.
Increased expenses were the prime reason for the slip. Gross margin in the quarter, which ended on April 29, fell 60 basis points to 37.8 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 6.5 percent in dollars and 10 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 31.8 percent.
Net sales gained 6.1 percent to total $817.6 million. This included increases of 8.8 percent in direct-to-consumer revenues and 3.9 percent in retail revenues. In spite of the shortfall on the bottom line, Laura Alber, Williams-Sonoma’s president and CEO, called this “the best first quarter in the company’s history,” citing the sales gain along with operating margin and earnings per share that exceeded the company’s expectations.
The company has also appointed Anna Last as senior vice president and executive creative director for the Williams-Sonoma brand. Last thus assumes responsibility over all facets of the brand’s expression in the Williams-Sonoma catalog, on williams-sonoma.com and in the brand’s store environments.
Before joining Williams-Sonoma, Last was editor-in-chief of Everyday Food, the magazine from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Her career also includes editorial positions with Real Simple, Marie Claire Australia and Vogue Entertaining + Travel.