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Williams Sonoma reveals top customer segment

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SAN FRANCISCO – The percentage of sales coming from Williams Sonoma Inc.’s most productive customer segment hit a record high last year.

The company’s cross-brand customers – who shop across its various home furnishings nameplates – accounted for approximately 60% of total sales. Cross-brand customer counts also grew faster in 2021 than those of the single-brand customer, according to Laura Alber, the corporation’s president and CEO.

“While new customer acquisition is always a priority and continues to grow, we believe we have even more upside by increasing our share of wallet with our existing customer base,” she said during the company’s Q4 review call.

Supply chain disruption persists, with elevated back orders above the pre-pandemic average but coming down. On-hand inventory is down 13% on a two-year basis. “Hopefully, by the back half of the year, we’ll be in a much better position,” said Julie Whalen, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, the company reported:

  • Williams-Sonoma: Fourth-quarter comp rose 4.5% on top of a 26.2% comp last year, with growth driven by demand for entertaining at home and gift-giving. Full-year comp increased 10.5%, building to a 34.3% on a two-year basis.
  • West Elm: Comp was up 18.3% with strong growth across categories. The new categories of bath, kids and kitchen contributed to incremental growth. For the full year, comp was up 33.1% and up 48.3% on a two-year basis.
  • Pottery Barn: Comp in Q4 jumped 23.9% and was up 39.1% on a two-year basis. Pottery Barn Kids and Teen ran a negative 6.1%, primarily due to supply chain issues coming out of Vietnam. Pottery Barn Kids and Teen delivered a full-year comp of 11.6%, building to a 28.2% on a two-year basis.

The company sees continuing opportunity ahead to gain market share, Alber said.

“We all acknowledge there’s a great deal of uncertainty in the world we live in today, from rising interest rates to global conflicts. But what gives me confidence is that we operate in an industry that is really large and fragmented. And still, more than half of the sales are generated from smaller brick-and-mortar retailers,” she added.

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