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Williams Sonoma Q3 profit up 16%; raises full-year view

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s on Thursday reported that its third-quarter profit rose a better-then-expected 16% as same-store sales increased across all its brands. The company also raised its full-year view.

“We believe we are well-positioned heading into the holiday season and will continue to execute our key strategies to deliver an exceptional experience for our customers. We are focused on generating top-line results in conjunction with operational and capital discipline to deliver long-term shareholder value,” said president and CEO Laura Alber.

For the quarter ended Nov. 3, Williams-Sonoma posted a profit of $56.7 million, up from $48.9 million.

Revenue rose 11% to $1.05 billion. Total same-store sales rose 8.2%.

At West Elm, same-store sales jumped 22%. Pottery Barn’s same-store sales were up 8.4%, while Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen increased 3.9% and 17%, respectively. At the company’s namesake stores, sales were up 1.4%.

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Survey: Gift cards drive store traffic

BY Marianne Wilson

Oklahoma City — Seventy-four percent of shoppers plan to give one or more gift cards this holiday season, and nearly 30% planned on giving five or more gift cards, according to a study by the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA). The results show that gift cards drive store traffic, with 78% of consumers planning to spend their cards at the retailer’s brick-and-mortar location

The Holiday Gift Card Trend Tracker Survey finds that the number of gift cards consumers plan to purchase as gifts this year increased by 71%.

"This survey shows ways that retailers can compete for savvy consumer dollars by adding holiday promotions and offering online and mobile gift card options such as e-gift codes,” said Jennifer Tramontana, spokesperson for the Retail Gift Card Association.

Additional key insights from the survey include:

Restaurants and department stores will benefit most from gift card promotion this holiday: Consumers are most likely to give cards from these types of retailers (57% plan on giving a restaurant gift card this year), and they most want to receive cards from these businesses as well (60% hope for a department store gift card).

Convenience and practicality drive the decision to give gift cards: 79% of consumers give gift cards because they know the recipient can purchase what they want, and 70% give them for convenience.

Consumers are embracing more online and mobile options: 56% plan to stay home and shop on cyber Monday, and 83% like the option to send physical gift cards or e-codes.

Promotions drive gift cards sales: 17% of consumers wait for a promotion before buying a gift card, and 23% almost always look for promotions at competing retailers before deciding where to buy a gift card.


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Dollar Tree Q3 profit down

BY Marianne Wilson

Chesapeake, Va. — Dollar Tree Inc. reported that its net income in the third quarter fell 19%, impacted by a one -time gain a year related to selling its stake in the Ollie’s Holdings chain. The company forecast results for the fourth quarter below Street expectations.

The company posted earnings of $125.4 million for the period ended Nov. 2, down from $155.4 million a year ago.

Revenue rose 9.5% to $1.88 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $1.91 billion.

Same-store sales were up 3%.

“During a very cautious consumer environment, comparable-store sales increased as the result of growth in both consumer basics and growth in seasonal and variety merchandise, with our higher margin variety categories growing at a faster pace,” said Bob Sasser, CEO, Dollar Tree. “Our comparable-store sales increase was driven principally by increased customer traffic, as new customers are finding Dollar Tree to be part of their solution to balance their household budgets."

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