News

Williams-Sonoma Q2 profit up 10%; to open four stores in Australia

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma Inc. said its second-quarter net income rose 10%, fueled by double-digit sales growth at its Pottery Barn and West Elm stores. The results beat analysts’ expectations and the company also raised its profit and sales predictions for the full year.

For the quarter ended July 29, Williams-Sonoma earned $43.4 million, up from $39.3 million in the same period last year.

Revenue rose 7% to $874.3 million, from $814.8 million last year. Same-store sales increased 7.4%, with an 11.7% increase at Pottery Barn and a 15.6% jump at West Elm. But the company’s namesake stores saw same-store sales dip 0.4%.

Similar to many retailers, Williams-Sonoma said it is cautious about its prospects for the second half of the year, given the continued economic uncertainty.

In other news, Williams-Sonoma said it plans to open four stores in Sydney, Australia, early next year. All of its store brands will be represented: Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm. They will be the first company-operated locations outside of North America.

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News

Reality star launches line for Chinese Laundry

BY CSA STAFF

LOS ANGELES — Reality TV personality, Kristin Cavallari has partnered with Chinese Laundry for a capsule footwear collection composed of pumps, platforms, booties and flats available at retail this December.

"My love for shoes is no secret. To have been able to work with Chinese laundry as a web ambassador and now as a designer has truly been a dream come true," said Cavallari. "It was important to me to create a collection of shoes that is not only fun and versatile, but also price friendly and comfortable."

As current web ambassador for Chinese Laundry, Cavallari has been delivering styling tips and favorite product picks for fans through Chinese Laundry’s blog, Facebook and Twitter since fall 2011.

Taking the partnership to the next level with the launch of this capsule collection, Chinese Laundry by Kristin Cavallari will debut this month at the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas and is slated to hit stores nationwide this December retailing from $69.95 to $149.95.

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FINANCE

Wet Seal hires financial advisors; adopts poison pill

BY Marianne Wilson

Foothill Ranch, Calif. — The Wet Seal said it has hired financial advisors and adopted a poison pill that discourages an investor from acquiring 10% of the company.

The move comes as Clinton Group, an investor with a 3.9% stake in the chain, has been putting pressure on the company to put itself on the block.

“We took this action to ensure the board has sufficient time to consider any option,” said Wet Seal chairman Harold Kahn.

The retailer said it has hired Guggenheim Securities LLC and Peter J. Solomon Co. to pursue strategic options to increase shareholder value.

In July, Wet Seal fired its CEO, Susan McGalla, amid declining sales. The chain reported a net loss of $12.4 million for the quarter ended July 28, compared with net income of $2.2 million a year earlier. Second-quarter same-store sales fell 11%.

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