Williams-Sonoma profits cut by 29% as tough trading continues

Sales and profits were hit hard in the second quarter at US housewares retail chain Williams-Sonoma.
Turnover fell 5% to $819.6m from $859.4m in the same period a year earlier, while like-for-like sales suffered an 11.7% drop.

Profit slumped 29% in the three months to August 3, from $26m to $18.4m.

Chief executive Howard Lester said he could see no let-up in the tough trading environment for the rest of the year.

“As we look forward to the third quarter and balance of the year, considering these trends, it is extremely difficult to know how the consumer will respond in the back half of the year,” he said in a statement.

“While our history would say that trends would improve, what we are seeing today does not support that premise.”

He added: “We are also looking forward to 2009 with a very cautious outlook.”

The retailer plans to cut back on capital spending, stock and retail space next year.

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