Williams-Sonoma CEO eyes in-store traffic foot traffic as economy reopens

Williams Sonoma stock hit new highs Thursday after the homewares retailer posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

The company’s e-commerce business played a key role in increasing sales to make up for lost deals in physical stores. However, CEO Laura Alber expects brick and mortar sales to rebound strongly as the U.S. economy emerges from the pandemic.

“The retail traffic is coming back,” she said on CNBC’s Mad Money. “I think people don’t see the advantages we have in retail.”

Williams-Sonoma, best known for selling products for the kitchen, had sales of $ 2.3 billion in its most recent quarter ended Jan. 31. It was the third straight quarter of year-over-year growth after sales fell early last year that the Covid-19 bans took effect.

The San Francisco-based retailer also reported full-year results for fiscal year 2021. Despite business disruptions in the pandemic, the company had its best year of growth in nearly two decades.

Online sales increased 45% for the fiscal year compared to a 24% decrease in in-person sales. Still, Alber said the company will not give up its stationary strategy.

“We’re talking about e-commerce and that will be our growth, but that retail rebound is a big part of the story too,” she said.

Williams-Sonoma shares fell 18.46% Thursday to close at $ 161.57.

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