Financial crisis rips into Williams-Sonoma sales

Major US kitchenware retailer and catalogue operator Williams-Sonoma says it is “reacting aggressively” to the economic downturn, which has progressively slashed sales over the past three months.

Financial crisis rips into Williams-Sonoma sales

Like-for-like store sales declined from -14.0% in August to -20.1% in September to -26.6% in October.

CEO Howard Lester said the trend reflected “a significantly higher level of consumer concern over the events that have taken place in the global financial markets, as well as the increasing likelihood of a prolonged recession.

“We are reacting aggressively to this rapid downturn and are committed to bringing our infrastructure and merchandise inventories in line with today’s level of business,” he added.

The company’s brands include Williams-Sonoma, Williams-Sonoma Home, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids. Lester said the decline in demand had affected all brands and both its sales channels.

The company has already said it is reducing its catalogue circulation by 25% and page counts by 31%, to cut advertising costs by about $40m. It will now do more email marketing.

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