Holiday promotions lead to lower outlook at Williams-Sonoma

SAN FRANCISCO — Williams-Sonoma Inc. said Thursday it has cut its fiscal Q4 earnings outlook below Wall Street expectations due to heavy holiday promotions levels.

The company said it had to offer discounts to entice shoppers this holiday season. Although earnings guidance has been reduced to below expectations, Williams-Sonoma’s revenue outlook remains in line with Wall Street, trimmed to a range of $1.24 billion to $1.26 billion. The company had previously expected revenue as high as $1.27 billion.

In the eight weeks that ended on Dec. 25, Williams-Sonoma's revenue rose 4.2% to $901 million. Revenue from the company's websites, catalogs and same-store sales rose 4.9%, compared with 11.3% growth in the prior year.

Laura Alber, president and CEO said, “Looking forward to fiscal 2012, we remain committed to the fundamental strategies that drove our record earnings performance in fiscal 2011 and allowed us to gain market share, invest in future growth and improve company-wide profitability.  These strategies include attracting new customers to our brands, filling ‘white space’ in the marketplace by expanding our merchandise categories, and capitalizing on the world-class service that distinguishes our brands from the competition.  These strategies also include continuing to drive efficiencies in our global supply chain and expanding our initiatives in e-commerce."