FINANCE

Williams-Sonoma to shutter more stores in large markets

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Williams-Sonoma will continue to close stores in large, multi-store markets, according to a report on Thursday by the Wall Street Journal.

CFO Sharon McCollam told the Journal that it will shutter the stores as part of its quest to return its brick-and-mortar operations to past levels of profitability.

“Our strategy for store closings is to optimize our cost per square foot,” she said during a conference hosted by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. “The goal is not closing stores per se.”

Over the next three years, 25% of the leases on the stores in the retailer’s stable of brands, including Pottery Barn and the Williams-Sonoma namesake banner, will be coming to an end. Williams-Sonoma sees that as an opportunity to negotiate more favorable lease costs or terms or to relocate or close stores entirely. That should help it return to historical levels of profitability for its retail stores, McCollam said.

McCollam did not say how many stores the company is targeting for closing, saying Williams-Sonoma will update its targets each quarter as negotiations on leases progress.

About 30% of the retailer’s stores are located in densely populated markets, such as New York; Atlanta; California; and Denver, and many cities have multiple stores.

McCollam also said that Williams-Sonoma no longer considers its high-end chain, Williams-Sonoma Home, to be a growth vehicle “in this new reset economy.” While the company continues to assess the marketing position of the brand, she said, “At this time, we do not believe that growing the luxury business is strategic for us.”

West Elm, instead, “will be the growth vehicle for us,” she said.

The chain still has 11 Williams-Sonoma Home stores “to contend with,” McCollam said, adding that the company will talk more about those outlets and their future this year.

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PacSun 4Q comps down 19%

BY CSA STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. Pacific Sunwear of California announced that total sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 ended Jan. 30 were $293 million, a decrease of 17% from total sales of $352 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 ended Jan.31, 2009. Total Company same-store sales decreased 19% during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, the company reported a net loss of $36 million, or 56 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $27 million, or 42 centsper share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.

“When I joined PacSun, given all that we needed to do I knew it would take time to turn things around. Eight months into the job, I’m encouraged by the changes we’re making and the prospects for PacSun to once again become a leader for teens in the mall,” stated Gary Schoenfeld, president and CEO.

Total sales for fiscal 2009 ended Jan. 30 were $1.03 billion, a decrease of 18% from total sales of $1.25 billion during fiscal 2008 ended Jan. 31, 2009. Total company same-store sales decreased 20% during fiscal 2009. For fiscal 2009, the company reported a loss of $70 million, or $1.07 per share, compared with a loss from continuing operations of $39 million, or 59 cents per share, in fiscal 2008.

Pacific Sunwear said it expects to report a GAAP net loss per share of 50 cents to 60 cents for the first quarter of fiscal 2010. The company expects same-store sales to decline in a range of 13% to 18% for the quarter.

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Staples B-to-B division launches new Web site

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Staples announced that its business-to-business division, Staples Advantage, has launched a new Web site (StaplesAdvantage.com) to address customers’ growing demands for supplier consolidation and reduced procurement costs.

The site enables customers to view the full range of Staples Advantage’s products and services, including five newly integrated business-to-business service offerings, the company reported.

 

The five new services offered include:

  • Staples print solutions, a comprehensive document and print management offering.
  • Staples facility solutions, a national cleaning and maintenance programs in the country, offering a wide assortment of janitorial and cleaning supplies and exclusive environmentally preferable cleaners.
  • Staples promotional products, a full-service corporate branding solution, featuring more than 700,000 customizable items and an in-house design and creative marketing staff.
  • Staples technology solutions, a complete array of IT services from data center solutions and printer fleet management services to network services and everyday desktop technology products
  • Business Interiors by Staples, a full-scale furniture and interior design service.

“Businesses today are eager to create efficiencies in procurement given reduced human and capital resources,” said Jay Baitler, EVP Staples Advantage. “Our new StaplesAdvantage.com Web site helps our current and potential new customers understand how we can deliver much more than office supplies — to support their supplier consolidation goals and find new opportunities for savings.”

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