Williams-Sonoma (WSM) Q3 2022 Earnings Name Transcript

November 18, 2022

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Williams-Sonoma (WSM 2.91%)
Q3 2022 Earnings Name
Nov 17, 2022, 5:00 p.m. ET


  • Ready Remarks
  • Questions and Solutions
  • Name Members

Ready Remarks:


Welcome to the Williams-Sonoma third quarter 2022 earnings convention name. Right now, all contributors are in a listen-only mode. An issue-and-answer session will comply with on the conclusion of the ready remarks. I’d now like to show the decision over to Jeremy Brooks, chief accounting officer and head of investor relations.

Please go forward.

Jeremy BrooksChief Accounting Officer and Head of Investor Relations

Good afternoon, and thanks for becoming a member of our third quarter earnings name. I would prefer to remind you that throughout the name, we’ll make forward-looking statements with respect to future occasions and monetary efficiency, together with steering for fiscal ’22. We imagine these statements replicate our greatest estimates. Nevertheless, we can’t make any assurances that these statements will materialize, and precise outcomes might differ considerably from our expectations.

The corporate undertakes no obligation to publicly replace or revise any of those statements to replicate occasions or circumstances that will come up after right this moment’s name. Moreover, we’ll discuss with sure non-GAAP monetary measures. These measures shouldn’t be thought of replacements for and ought to be learn along with our GAAP outcomes. A reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to essentially the most straight comparable GAAP measure seems on exhibit one to the press launch we issued earlier right this moment.

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The decision must also be thought of along with our filings with the SEC. Lastly, a replay shall be accessible on our investor relations web site. Now, I would like to show the decision over to Laura Alber, our president and chief govt officer.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Thanks, Jeremy, and good afternoon, everybody. We’re pleased with one other sturdy quarter, producing an 8.1% comp or 25% on a two-year foundation and 50% comp progress on a three-year foundation, with document EPS progress of 12% over final yr to $3.72 per share. These outcomes replicate the continuation of backlog order success, sturdy product margins, and disciplined price management. Demand comps for the quarter have been barely destructive.

This continued outperformance displays the distinctive energy of our multibrand portfolio, our progress initiatives, and ongoing execution of our proficient workforce. Since we final spoke, the macro backdrop has turn out to be extra unsure. Nevertheless, what has not modified is the big and fragmented area through which we function, the place nobody participant owns important market share. We imagine we’ve a capability to seize extra of this market in any atmosphere.

Now we have and can proceed to ship outcomes, leveraging our key differentiators, our in-house design, our digital first however not digital-only capabilities, and our price. These aggressive benefits together with our progress methods give us many alternatives for the longer term. As we talked about earlier than, certainly one of our largest is B2B, which had one other glorious quarter, driving over $30 million in demand, a 17% improve to final yr. We proceed to imagine our B2B enterprise presents a large progress driver for us because it disrupts an underserved estimated $80 billion complete addressable market.

B2B is constructing velocity with giant and repeat tasks from industrial and hospitality companions like Marriott and Hilton. We’re additionally centered on diversifying into new business verticals, together with the healthcare area by means of multiproperty partnerships with nationwide accounts. In September, we efficiently launched our improved company gifting and customized merchandise providers, and we’re inspired by the early success main into the vacation season. A key B2B buyer of ours for over three years now in Starbucks.

We’re thrilled to publicly announce that our workforce was in a position to help Starbucks with the build-out of the attractive three-story flagship reserve retailer within the Empire State Constructing. Along with incorporating furnishings from Brooklyn-based West Elm, our B2B workforce had the chance to work with Starbucks to create customized furnishings options to satisfy their distinctive wants. We look ahead to rising our present relationship with Starbucks. And now I would like to speak about our international enterprise the place we proceed to develop in key markets and develop our multichannel presence.

In Q3, we noticed energy in each franchise and firm owned. Within the franchise enterprise, we imagine that certainly one of our greatest alternatives is in India. And after launching our web site earlier this yr, we opened our first Pottery Barn retailer in New Delhi, becoming a member of our West Elm shops in New Delhi and Mumbai. We plan to proceed to deal with in India and in early 2023, shall be including shops throughout our manufacturers and persevering with to enhance our on-line expertise with our nice companion, the Reliance Group.

In our company-owned enterprise, I wish to spotlight Canada the place we efficiently relaunched our web site this yr throughout all of the manufacturers, driving order success and improved omni expertise. One other vital initiative is sustainability for which we proceed to be acknowledged for our impression initiatives and ESG management throughout the house furnishing business. In Q3, we have been named a prime rating on sustainable furnishings counsel wooden furnishings scorecard for the fifth consecutive yr, and West Elm obtained the Ford Stewardship Council Management Award for its use of FSC-certified wooden. We acknowledge there may be way more work to do on this area, and we’re dedicated to persevering with to be a frontrunner in planet, individuals, and objective.

One in all our sustainability initiatives is our objective to plant 6 million timber throughout our household of manufacturers in partnership with the Arbor Day Basis. We’re excited to report that we’ve planted over 2 million timber up to now. Now let’s flip to the efficiency of our manufacturers. Pottery Barn delivered one more very sturdy quarter with a 19.6% comp or 35.5% on a two-year stack and virtually 60% on a three-year stack.

Pottery Barn continues to carry out, providing unique high-quality inspirational merchandise, and strategic progress areas like condominium, market, and bathtub reno are driving outcomes.  We’re significantly pleased with our accessible house assortment, which launched in late July and has shortly scaled. West Elm delivered a 4.2% comp within the third quarter or 26.6% on a two-year stack and 48.4% on a three-year foundation. Through the quarter, we improved our in-stock stock place, and we anticipate to proceed to make enhancements in our service ranges into This autumn and subsequent yr. We’re additionally very centered on bettering our e-commerce expertise and customer-facing conversion-driving initiatives.

I’ve had the chance to spend so much of time with West Elm this quarter, and I’m very impressed with the proficient and passionate workforce working the model. Our biggest alternative at West Elm is doubling down on what has made this model nice, our dedication to design innovation, and worth value factors. Now, I would prefer to replace you on the Pottery Barn youngsters’s house furnishings enterprise, which ran a destructive 4.8% comp in Q3 however a constructive 12.1% on a two-year foundation and a constructive 35.9% on a three-year foundation. We proceed to see ongoing restoration in our in-stocks.

And trying to the longer term, we’ve a powerful pipeline of merchandise at compelling values. The Williams-Sonoma model ran a destructive 1.5% comp in Q3, however a constructive 6.1% on a two-year and a constructive 36.5% on a three-year foundation. We proceed to see that persons are internet hosting and entertaining at house. And as such, we noticed energy in entertaining areas.

In Q3, we efficiently kicked off the vacation season with our unique collaboration with superstar chef and creator, Ina Garten. As a part of this collaboration, Ina shared Thanksgiving ideas for cooking and internet hosting the final word Thanksgiving feast. We additionally introduced the thrilling launch of a collaboration with famend British heritage textile model, William Morrison Firm. Williams-Sonoma House delivered one other double-digit comp in Q3.

We proceed to see this enterprise as a possibility to ship outsized progress by selecting up market share from the restricted luxurious high-end house market. We’re excited to launch an expanded furnishing line for the kitchen in This autumn. As we glance to the vacation season, we’re ready to satisfy the wants of our gift-giving clients with compelling product choices. Our shops are a aggressive benefit, and they’re stocked, and our associates are able to serve our clients.

And eventually, our rising manufacturers, together with Rejuv and Mark and Graham, collectively, they ran a 7.8% comp this quarter. At Rejuvenation, we noticed success in rework classes associated to kitchen and toilet, together with vanities, cupboard {hardware}, and wall widening. And at Mark and Graham, wins have been from the journey class, together with baggage and journey equipment. We’re pleased with our third quarter outcomes.

however we’re additionally conscious that financial uncertainty is on the minds of shoppers and traders alike. Through the third quarter, we skilled deceleration and choppiness in our demand, and it’s arduous to know the place the financial system goes or how lengthy the uncertainty will final. Nonetheless, we’re controlling what we are able to management and taking a look at alternatives to scale back prices with out an impression to the shopper expertise. In reality, we imagine that defending service and innovation is vital to outperforming our friends.

Because it pertains to pricing, we proceed to be dedicated to not working sitewide promotions as we did earlier than the pandemic, however we’ll proceed to mark down and clear overstocks. We’re working with our distributors to scale back prices and go on that worth strategically to our clients. As for extra bills, out of market and redundant delivery bills and transportation prices have negatively impacted our gross margin. We proceed to deal with these pressures and mitigation of those prices shall be a major profit for us sooner or later, significantly within the second half of subsequent yr.

In abstract, we’re acutely aware that the house furnishings market might contract because of macro components. If this occurs, we imagine we’re uniquely positioned to take market share even when there’s a downturn, and here is why. We constructed an organization of liked manufacturers with a shared platform of aggressive differentiators that leads the business, in-house design, digital first however not digital-only platform, and our price. Now we have recognized alternatives for progress by means of strategic initiatives like B2B, international finish market the place we’ve the chance to disrupt.

And eventually, we’ve a tradition of innovation and an skilled workforce who is aware of tips on how to improve operational efficiencies and management prices whereas defending service and driving new progress alternatives. Now, I’ll flip it over to Jeff to stroll you thru the ends in extra element in his first earnings name as CFO.

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Thanks, Laura, and good day, everybody. I’m so happy to affix you right this moment for my first earnings name in my new function as chief monetary officer. Whereas I am comparatively new to this specific function, I am a 20-year member of the Williams-Sonoma management workforce. I come into this function with deep information and expertise throughout our manufacturers, operations, and financials.

I look ahead to making use of my breadth and depth of expertise to drive continued sturdy outcomes. Diving into our third quarter outcomes. We delivered one other quarter of document revenues and earnings in a difficult atmosphere. Our top-line outcomes illustrate our capacity to realize market share.

Our bottom-line outcomes display the facility of our working mannequin to maintain merchandise margins and management SG&A bills. Web revenues grew to $2.2 billion, with comparable model income progress at 8.1% for a two-year comp of 25% and a three-year comp of virtually 50%. Our income progress was pushed by sturdy order success, ongoing momentum in our progress initiatives, and our continued capacity to take market share, at the same time as we skilled inconsistent demand inside our portfolio of manufacturers and throughout the quarter. Each channels continued to expertise sturdy progress, with retail at a 16.9% comp and e-commerce at a 4.4% comp.

Shifting down the revenue assertion. Gross margin was 41.5%, 220 foundation factors under final yr and in step with our expectations. We sustained sturdy merchandise margins that have been flat yr over yr. We stay dedicated to our choice to not supply sitewide promotions and protect the pricing integrity our proprietary, differentiated product instructions.

The energy of those merchandise margins is especially spectacular given we absorbed important price will increase from our distributors and ocean carriers, together with increased demurrage and detention prices. As anticipated, the gross margin decline was pushed by increased outbound delivery prices. This is because of our elevated furnishings combine, increased back-order success, and incremental freight prices. We additionally incurred increased prices to greatest serve our clients by delivery from out-of-market distribution facilities and in some instances, delivery a number of occasions for multiunit orders, which generally would have been fulfilled in a single cargo.

Occupancy prices at 9.2% of web revenues have been 30 foundation factors above final yr, with occupancy {dollars} growing 10.5% to roughly $202 million. Our ongoing retail retailer optimization initiative partially offset incremental prices from our new distribution facilities on each the East and West Coast. These new distribution facilities will assist our long-term progress, enhance service time for our clients and drive price efficiencies over time. Our SG&A fee continues to be at historic lows at 26%, leveraging 150 foundation factors over final yr, pushed by promoting and employment leverage.

Our promoting leverage displays the agile, performance-driven proficiency of our advertising and marketing workforce, our in-house capabilities, first-party information, and multibrand platform permit us to check, be taught and scale, which is a singular aggressive benefit. Our SG&A leverage additionally displays our tradition of economic self-discipline, the place we persistently problem all bills for return on funding and drive operational effectivity all through the corporate. On the underside line, we delivered one other document quarter of earnings. Q3 working revenue grew 2% to $340 million, and we delivered sturdy working margin at 15.5%, solely 80 foundation factors under final yr regardless of important headwinds and price pressures.

Our diluted earnings per share of $3.72, was up 12% from final yr’s document third quarter earnings per share of $3.32. On the stability sheet, we ended the quarter with a money stability of $113 million, with no debt excellent and year-to-date working money move of $588 million. That enabled us to fund the operations of the enterprise and develop our capital investments to assist our long-term progress. As well as, yr up to now, we’ve returned extra money of over $1 billion to shareholders by means of $165 million in dividends and $840 million in share repurchases.

These choices replicate our dedication to maximizing returns for our shareholders. And with our sturdy and disciplined stability sheet, mixed with our anticipated free money move, we’ve flexibility to proceed to put money into the expansion of the enterprise and opportunistically put money into our personal inventory and drive long-term shareholder returns. Shifting down the stability sheet. Merchandise inventories, which embody in transit, have been $1.688 billion, growing 33% over our diminished stage of final yr.

Stock readily available elevated 34% over final yr, however was up solely 11% to 2019 versus gross sales up 52% over the identical time. Within the quarter, back-order ranges decreased however remained nicely above historic ranges. We’re working arduous to get these items in to satisfy our buyer orders however proceed to anticipate our backorder ranges will stay elevated within the first half of ’23. Summarizing our Q3 outcomes, we’re proud to have delivered one other quarter of document revenues and earnings.

I want to thank all our associates for his or her arduous work and dedication in driving these nice outcomes. Now turning to our expectations for the rest of the yr and past. We acknowledge that the near-term macroeconomic image stays unsure, with conflicting financial alerts surrounding shopper spending tendencies, decade-high inflation, and Federal Reserve financial coverage, deliberately moderating financial demand. Moreover, our tendencies have been more and more inconsistent and fewer predictable.

This mixture of conflicting financial alerts and inconsistent tendencies makes our steering unusually troublesome to foretell. Nevertheless, we stay assured in our capacity to function in any atmosphere, and are, subsequently, reiterating our fiscal yr ’22 steering of mid- to excessive single-digit income progress with working margins comparatively in step with fiscal yr ’21. Our outlook is grounded in three components. First, we’re at the moment within the early levels of our upcoming vacation seasonal lease with the largest weeks but to return.

Second, our Q3 quarter demand tendencies assist a variety of outcomes. And third, the continuing enchancment we see in success of our buyer order backlog. From a profitability perspective, as we mentioned in our final name, we proceed to anticipate price pressures to persist for the stability of fiscal yr ’22 and into the primary half of ’23, primarily throughout our provide chain. These headwinds embody our incremental distribution facilities, increased product and freight prices, and our efforts to greatest serve our clients by delivering merchandise as well timed as attainable.

Our capital allocation technique stays unchanged. In fiscal yr ’22, we anticipate capital expenditures shall be roughly $350 million. We plan to proceed to return extra money to our shareholders by means of quarterly dividends and opportunistic share repurchases. Whereas the close to time period could also be unsure, the present administration workforce has efficiently navigated difficult environments earlier than, together with the 2008 nice monetary disaster and the 2020 international pandemic.

We all know the levers to drag, and we’ve already taken steps to scale back price and stock to mitigate draw back threat. Given the elevated macro uncertainty, we won’t be reiterating or updating our fiscal yr ’24 steering at the moment. We shall be offering steering for fiscal yr ’23 and past at our subsequent name. We stay assured within the long-term fundamentals of our enterprise.

Our confidence stays rooted in our capacity to take market share within the fractured house furnishings business. The energy of our in-house proprietary design, the aggressive benefit of our digital first however not digital-only channel technique, the continuing energy of our progress initiatives, and the resiliency of our fortress stability sheet. And having been right here earlier than, we see alternative to take an offensive stance in a difficult macro atmosphere. In abstract, we’re very pleased with our outcomes.

We proceed to ship for our clients, our associates, and our shareholders. And now I would prefer to open the decision for questions. Thanks.  

Questions & Solutions:


Thanks. [Operator instructions] We ask right this moment that you just restrict your self to 1 query and one follow-up. Your first query comes from the road of Peter Benedict with Baird. Your line is now open.

Peter BenedictRobert W. Baird and Firm — Analyst

OK, guys. Thanks for taking the query. First one is on stock. Simply wished — perhaps you could possibly give us a bit of extra coloration, your consolation with the present make-up furnishings versus non-furniture.

It sounds such as you’ve adjusted some receipts, I suppose, in response to the slower — or the softer macro. However how ought to we take into consideration the extent of stock that you just’d be snug working with? I feel you are about 120 days at the moment. I feel you used to run like 100 days pre-COVID. I do not know.

Like every benchmark to assist us take into consideration as we transfer by means of subsequent yr, how stock may look relying on totally different gross sales eventualities. That is my first query. Thanks. 

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Thanks, Peter. I’ll let Jeff take that one. 

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Good afternoon, Peter. When you consider stock, I actually assume it is robust to have a look at it on a one-year foundation. I do know we’re up 33%. But when you consider this time final yr, we’re at our most aggressive stock ranges as a result of in the event you assume again to final yr, that is when Southeast Asia was actually closed, and we have been nonetheless seeing the residual impacts of the COVID closures from India and China.

So, we’re at our lowest stock stage at that time. We actually like to have a look at it on a three-year foundation, the place our three-year on-hand stock is up 12% versus our gross sales up 52% over the identical time interval. How we’re serious about it’s we’re making progress, however there’s nonetheless much more work to do. Our backlog stays at traditionally excessive ranges, and we’re working arduous to get our composition proper, in addition to our location of our stock to service our buyer greatest.

We anticipate our stock ranges and our again orders to progressively enhance by means of This autumn and within the first half of ’23.

Peter BenedictRobert W. Baird and Firm — Analyst

OK. Nice. That is useful. After which my second query.

I do know it is an unpredictable atmosphere, however you probably did — you have got some line of sight right here, I feel, when it comes to the out-of-market shipments and the opposite objects that you just mentioned would supply some financial savings. Anyway, you possibly can perhaps assist body the dimensions of these alternatives as we take into consideration the again half of ’23 as these begin to come into the P&L? Thanks a lot.

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Thanks, Peter. I feel that is an amazing query, and it is actually how we’re taking a look at it. So, we’ve great headwinds proper now, significantly on our gross margin from increased product prices, increased inbound ocean prices. And as you talked about, increased out-of-market prices, in addition to delivery a number of shipments to the identical buyer for a similar order after we ought to actually be delivery it as soon as.

That, proper now, for the This autumn and into the primary half of ’23 is a headwind, and it is going to be impacting our margin. However we’re fairly optimistic as we glance to the again half of ’23 and into ’24. That is going to be a considerable tailwind and provides us numerous room to maintain our margins.


Your subsequent query comes from the road of Steve Shemesh with RBC Capital Markets. Your line is now open.

Steve ShemeshRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Hey, good afternoon, and thanks for taking the query. First one is on the marginally destructive demand comp within the quarter. Are you able to share any extra perspective on how demand trended all through the quarter and, I suppose, the place we stand within the first few weeks of November? After which as a follow-up on the backlog. I imply, it looks as if the provision chain lead occasions improved fairly meaningfully all through the quarter.

Simply curious if that materially adjustments your view on once you’ll clear the backlog. I do know you continue to mentioned first half ’23, however to the extent that is true, simply curious why that would not clear sooner.

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Steve, let’s take your demand query first. So, when it comes to the cadence throughout Q3, it was extremely inconsistent and uneven as we described, and that is each throughout our portfolio of manufacturers within the quarter. We began the quarter off comparatively sturdy, mid-single-digit comps, as we talked about within the Q2 name. After which we noticed it actually path off after Labor Day as soon as the Fed introduced our fourth-rate hike.

And even in the event you have a look at it, whether or not it is one yr, two years, or three years, it was simply inconsistent. One yr decelerated throughout the quarter, two years was up and down, and three years truly accelerated throughout the quarter. So, it is robust to get a learn on it, after which we simply described it as inconsistent and uneven. However what we’re fairly assured about is even on this uneven atmosphere, we proceed to take market share.

Concerning the backlog, your second query. We nonetheless have extra work to do, like I discussed within the earlier query. There’s numerous work left to do to ship to our clients. The backlog stays sizable.

And for us, a number of the challenges are getting it in the correct location and in the correct composition so we are able to full a multiline order for a buyer. So, we — once more, we expect it will take us by means of This autumn and within the first half to actually normalize that stage of exercise.


Your subsequent query comes from the road of Cristina Fernandez with Telsey Advisory Group. Your line is now open.

Cristina FernandezTelsey Advisory Group — Analyst

Hello. Good afternoon. I wished to ask additionally on demand, however a unique method. It looks as if efficiency by model is diverging.

I assume that is the identical on the demand stage. Any insights you have got into buyer age or revenue that you just see adjustments in how the totally different cohorts are responding to your merchandise?

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Positive. Thanks, Cristina, for the query. So, you possibly can clearly see, even by wanting on the web comps, how sturdy Pottery Barn was. They’ve actually been outperforming.

The remainder of the manufacturers are sort of in an identical vary. However keep in mind, you bought to have a look at greater than only a one yr. So, once you have a look at West Elm on a three-year, it is actually, actually sturdy and never as far off as you may assume. So, when it comes to what we see within the demos, it is actually — I am cautious not to attract any huge conclusions from it as a result of the information may be very delicate.

It appears to be like like the one factor we are able to see is decrease revenue being extra affected. We do not see essentially an age problem. We simply see decrease revenue being extra damage than increased revenue, which is in step with what you’d in all probability anticipate on the market. The excellent news is, in complete, our core buyer is fairly prosperous.

And we additionally know that numerous that is simply uncertainty as a result of there’s actually nothing that is occurred. They nonetheless have numerous house appreciation, and we’ve extra financial savings than they did earlier than the pandemic. And so, relying on what occurs with the macro, this could possibly be brief. But when the macro will get worse and wage loss occurs and the Fed continues to do what they’re tasked to do, which is to cease progress, it might impression these clients greater than it even has already.

And in order that’s the rationale we have been hesitant to provide steering out into ’24. It is not that we’re not assured in our enterprise. It is that it is actually arduous to inform what is going on to occur within the macro. If that was even simply going to be as it’s right this moment, we might predict it.

But it surely’s altering so quickly. And admittedly, none of us are economists. However we do know that we’ve numerous levers to drag. Now we have numerous progress methods which are working.

We talked to you about B2B, market, international. You possibly can see in our manufacturers once you undergo them, some actually thrilling initiatives that aren’t simply attention-grabbing, however they’re actually producing nice outcomes, huge one being accessible house for Pottery Barn is one thing that we expect we are able to do throughout all manufacturers, frankly. So, regardless of what could possibly be an unsure atmosphere, we see ourselves in a very good place like we have been, if it will be ’08 or if it is even as a result of it will be the pandemic, I feel persons are at all times nervous about what occurs. And we have a tendency to return out a lot better than most.

In order that’s my perception to what’s taking place on the market and the way it impacts our buyer and what our alternatives are. Thanks for the query.

Cristina FernandezTelsey Advisory Group — Analyst

After which as a follow-up. If demand have been to sluggish additional, are you able to give some examples of the levers you possibly can pull on the associated fee facet to protect as a lot of the working margin, in the event you can?

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Go forward, Jeff. 

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Positive, Cristina, we’ve fairly a couple of levers, significantly on our SG&A line, the place promoting, we are able to positively alter as we go. And the good factor right here is we’ve our personal arms on the keyboards with our in-house advertising and marketing workforce who’s actually agile and performance-driven. We even have alternatives on employment, which, after all, leverage with gross sales with most of our employment in our distribution facilities and shops, and name facilities. After which there’s a lot of different price efficiencies we are able to drive all through our operations to proceed to leverage our SG&A to assist our working margin.


Your subsequent query comes from the road of Adrienne Yih with Barclays. Your line is now open.

Adrienne YihBarclays — Analyst

Nice. Thanks very a lot. Good afternoon, all people. I am sorry if I missed this, however might you — Jeff, might you simply give me the digital penetration or progress the place we’re sitting at sort of for the quarter? After which, Laura, I actually wished to congratulate you on the Starbucks, that win.

When you can speak about — I do know that they are present process a form of huge renovation, refresh of their complete retailer fleet. So, I am questioning the place you assume you possibly can go from right here having finished that flagship? After which additionally for you, Laura, is India. As you look internationally, you are opening shops, company-owned shops in Canada. Are there another markets in which you’d ponder proudly owning your shops from a company-owned perspective versus franchising them? Thanks very a lot.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

OK. Let me go backwards, forwards. So, India. We simply — Jeff and I truly had an opportunity to go over ourselves and see our shops.

And on the time, West Elm have been the one shops open. I would inform you, they’re nearly as good as any retailer right here in the USA. And our companions, the Reliance Group, are so good at digital and their advertising and marketing campaigns and the collaborators that we’re working with. And we simply walked away saying, we acquired to actually spend extra time than we even assume on this as a result of it is a market the place it is monumental middle-class rising and an actual penchant for high-quality design and items.

There’s not a lot on the market, so we are the first particular person on the market with a full life-style suite of stuff. It jogs my memory of we first began Pottery Barn and introduced furnishings into our shops within the ’90s. It is that huge of a possibility. So, we’re thrilled that we’ve an amazing companion.

When you have got an amazing companion in a few of these very distant, extra difficult-to-do enterprise locations, that is the way in which to go, in my view. I imply, Canada is quite a bit simpler than India or within the Center East, you need to have a companion. However at this level, there’s no person else that we’re — there’s nowhere else that we’re meaning to open company-owned shops. There is a chance to do DTC Europe ultimately when it is the correct time to do this.

This is able to not be the correct time, in my view, to do this, however we might do this out of DTC — DC and our platform that we’ve arrange within the U.Okay. OK. Starbucks. We’re thrilled we lastly can speak about this.

We have been working intently with them for 3 years. We have been doing quite a bit with them. And what I can say that I feel they will be OK with me saying is that they are nice companions, and so they’ve been very artistic with us to permit us to do some designs for them to their specs, for his or her shops. And we have actually constructed this partnership up.

And I do not know in the event you’ve been to that flagship, I simply acquired the images, it’s spectacular. And in order that’s certainly one of many who we have finished. You may begin to discover and see us popping up, however I can not provide you with any form of street map of scale on Starbucks aside from to say, it is one of many many nice alternatives that we’ve. And we proceed to actually imagine that B2B goes to be greater than anybody expects.

After which I will go it over to Jeff for digital progress.

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Positive. Adrienne, we’re pleased with each of our channels, and so they each actually did an amazing job this previous quarter and delivered sturdy outcomes. Retail was up 15.9%. And to get to your query, B2C delivered a 4.4% comp and was sequentially in step with our Q2 outcomes coming about 65% of the overall.

Long run, we proceed to see e-comm rising to 70% of revenues however each channels stay a part of our digital first however not digital-only channel technique, and we’re completely satisfied to serve the shopper in each channel they wish to store in.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

I will simply additionally add, Adrienne, that once you actually take into consideration final yr, Thanksgiving to Christmas, that is the time when, sadly, for lots of people, Thanksgiving or Christmas or each or Hanukkah acquired canceled, get togethers acquired canceled due to COVID. And so, it wasn’t the total open that it’s now. We truly — or I truly imagine that retail goes to be the large winner of this vacation season. I feel you possibly can see persons are out and about.

And we’re actually stocked and able to go. We’re staffed. Now we have the products within the shops already, and we put them there earlier so we are able to seize the gross sales. And truthfully, we even have one thing we by no means had earlier than pre-pandemic, which is our omni providers.

So after all, BOPIS is a factor all people does. Delivery from retailer shouldn’t be a factor that everyone does, however we’ve discovered to get fairly good at it. After which additionally delivery to the shop is one thing we do. And we’ve simply enabled, which I’m fairly enthusiastic about, delivery to any retailer within the firm.

So, for instance, in the event you purchase on-line, PB Children, however there is not any PB Children subsequent to you, you possibly can ship it to your native Williams-Sonoma retailer and also you go choose it up. And we did this after we labored on dorm. And our dorm technique this summer time, we noticed nice outcomes. And so, I feel that is going to be one thing that continues to construct, not simply because we do not have shops in each market, however as a result of additionally it is a comfort play as persons are again within the workplace extra and likewise some individuals do not wish to have to attend at house or UPS will not ship to their ZIP code for that motive.

It is a option to get round having to be there and watch for it to reach at your porch. So, that is one more instance of how we’re taking omni, and it optimizes the retail stock. So, for instance, if I am unsuitable and retail is not nearly as good as I feel it will be, this stock could be shipped in opposition to DTC orders, which I feel is a very thrilling benefit that we’ve that, significantly shops or manufacturers that do not have retail do not have the chance to realize.


Your subsequent query comes from the road of Anthony Chukumba with Loop Capital. Your line is now open.

Anthony ChukumbaLoop Capital Markets — Analyst

Good morning. Thanks. Good night. Thanks a lot for taking my query.

So, simply two actual fast ones. First off, tremendous thrilling about Starbucks. I do know prior to now, you mentioned that you just anticipated B2B gross sales to be about $1 billion this yr, and I used to be simply questioning if — I simply seen you hadn’t commented on that, so I am simply questioning if that is nonetheless the correct method to consider it. After which my second query is simply sort of what you are seeing from — when it comes to the aggressive atmosphere.

I imply, clearly, you are sticking with eliminating sitewide promotions. I 100% agree with that. However simply I used to be questioning in the event you’re seeing your rivals get any extra promotional. Thanks.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Jeff, do you wish to go forward with B2B? 

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Positive. We see our observe on B2B simply persevering with to propel ahead, and we’re on observe to hit the $1 billion this yr. The demand pipeline by means of our tasks and our main companions continues to be sturdy, and we’re very assured in our capacity to get there. And from a long-term standpoint, it’s such a fractured market, complete addressable market, $80 billion.

And we expect we’ve a very compelling proposition with our portfolio of manufacturers, our in-house design, our international sourcing capabilities to actually seize this. And we’re seeing numerous promising indicators on the market when it comes to pent-up demand for renovations in lodges and eating places. And we expect it is fairly an amazing alternative for us.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Jeff, why do not you’re taking the second piece of the query? 

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Might you repeat your second query, Anthony?

Anthony ChukumbaLoop Capital Markets — Analyst

What you are seeing when it comes to the aggressive atmosphere, significantly round promotions.

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

We’re seeing — we’re positively seeing extra promotions within the atmosphere because the financial system softens. I feel numerous retailers have been considering — have been speaking about that this week. Our strategy has been very constant when it comes to the extent of promotions that we have been doing. And plus, I wish to reiterate that we stay dedicated to not providing sitewide promotions in our manufacturers, and we’ll do no matter it takes to proceed to not do this.

We expect that our in-house design proprietary product actually resonates with the shopper due to its differentiation and instructions its personal pricing energy, and we’re seeing that in our outcomes.


Your subsequent query comes from the road of Max Rakhlenko with Cowen. Your line is now open.

Max RakhlenkoCowen and Firm — Analyst

Nice. Thanks quite a bit. So first, on the gross margin stress, how would you quantify the varied headwinds, simply placing them into totally different buckets? After which how ought to we take into consideration that stress in 4Q? And simply any coloration on places and takes into the quarter there.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Thanks, Max. I am giving that to Jeff, too.

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

All proper. Thanks, Max. I feel all of them are heavy pressures on our gross margin, as we have been speaking. There’s the product prices, which have been with us all yr as a part of inflation.

There’s the ocean prices, which, though we see ocean prices total coming down, we nonetheless have the associated fee in our stability sheet and must promote by means of that increased price stock. Our delivery prices domestically have been excessive, as we talked about due to out of market and delivery a number of occasions a buyer. As I mentioned within the reply to the primary query, we nonetheless have fairly a bit of labor to do to get our stock in the correct composition, in addition to the correct location to correctly service our clients and work on this backlog we’ve. So, we expect it is going to be — proceed to be a headwind for This autumn and into the primary half of ’23.

The factor I am actually optimistic about is after we flip the nook, after we begin to have a look at the again half of ’23 and into ’24, it will be an incredible tailwind. And I am optimistic that we are able to actually maintain our margins after I take into consideration all the associated fee pressures we have been beneath and nonetheless delivered the outcomes we’re delivering right this moment.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

The opposite piece of that is we’re beginning to see our distributors cut back their pricing to us. And I am not simply speaking about delivery, I am speaking about product distributors. And that could be a fairly sizable factor as you consider the longer term. In some instances, it will be vital to go alongside a part of that to the buyer as a result of all people needed to take a value improve.

And when it comes down, we wish to ensure that we’ve the very best worth on the market. So, we’re at all times scrubbing to see how’s our design vis-a-vis the competitors. How’s our high quality, how’s our sustainability issues and the way is our value? And so, as we get higher costs from our distributors, which we’re already beginning to see, there shall be some which are handed alongside to the shoppers in order that we are able to actually proceed to seize market share as a result of we’ll supply a good higher worth. And so, there are — along with simply the associated fee being normalized, I feel there’s some actual alternatives as you consider the again half of subsequent yr and past to actually enhance the margin from right here.


Your subsequent query comes from the road of Oliver Wintermantel with Evercore. Your line is now open.

Oliver WintermantelEvercore ISI — Analyst

Hello. Thanks very a lot. And, Jeff, congratulations on the brand new function. I had a query relating to retail.

I feel you mentioned up 16%, 16.9%. Are you able to give us a bit of bit extra element what drove that? Is that AUR? Or is that blend or visitors versus ticket? That might be nice.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

OK. Oliver, it is Laura. Bear in mind, the 16.9% is the web comp not a requirement comp. It is pushed by AUR and the ensuing visitors fill from the earlier gross sales.

As we have a look at demand comp — yeah, as we have a look at demand comps now, at retail, our visitors is best than our competitors, higher than the business, which is admittedly thrilling. And also you all know Christmas is the — and the vacations is the time that folks love to return into our shops. And I’ve mentioned earlier than, you salivate simply serious about strolling right into a Williams-Sonoma retailer. And so, we’re actually centered on conversion, and we’ve the visitors.

In order that’s why I are typically fairly optimistic that retail goes to be — the retailers, for us not less than, goes to proceed to overdeliver within the brief time period as we’re comping the pandemic not utterly out of the home that we have been in final yr. 

Oliver WintermantelEvercore ISI — Analyst

Received it. And my second query was relating to B2B. When you simply take into consideration the macro atmosphere and for instance that there is a slowdown, how do you assume B2B is holding up versus the buyer enterprise? Do you assume there’s extra headwinds? Or might that maintain up higher than the buyer enterprise?

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

That is an amazing query, Oliver. I feel that the B2B enterprise will maintain up stronger doubtlessly in a mushy macro atmosphere than the buyer. If you consider the dynamics of the previous couple of years, the buyer market took off throughout the pandemic as individuals have been house and so they began purchasing. And now that is probably trailing off a bit of bit with the Fed’s financial actions and the macroeconomic atmosphere.

B2B alternatively, numerous these verticals they have been shut down for a number of quarters and even over a yr. And there was an enormous backlog of labor and renovation work and tasks that weren’t finished. And all of that pipeline of these — that pent-up demand and deferred tasks is admittedly coming on-line now. We’re seeing it within the RFPs we’ve out, speaking to our clients in B2B.

And after I attend commerce exhibits, there’s only a common power in regards to the quantity of tasks which are on the market. Funded tasks, numerous renovations. There was an amazing article within the Wall Road Journal, I feel it was final week and the week earlier than, speaking in regards to the resort expertise and the way there’s only a dearth of nice lodges. Plenty of them must be up to date and renovated.

And that simply speaks nicely to our alternative with B2B. So, in sum, it might actually be countercyclical if there’s a macroeconomic downturn.


Your subsequent query comes from the road of Steven Zaccone with Citi. Your line is now open.

Steven ZacconeCiti — Analyst

Nice. Good afternoon. Thanks for taking my query, and I will prolong my congrats to you, Jeff, as nicely on the brand new function. First query I had was simply how a lot do you assume the aggressive atmosphere is factoring into the slowing demand tendencies that you just’re seeing in your corporation? The macro is troublesome, we perceive, however the house furnishing business has additionally gotten a bit of bit extra promotional.

And I suppose, Laura, as you look throughout the business, are you involved stock ranges are getting excessive within the channel?

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Yeah. So, it is humorous, the macro atmosphere or — no the aggressive atmosphere has at all times been promotional. Whenever you actually return and you consider — even earlier than all these new start-ups took place, there was Macy’s at all times within the home-based business and numerous different huge gamers. After which Amazon got here alongside and Wayfair.

They’ve at all times been after value first. What we do versus them may be very totally different in that we’re designing our personal items. And we have been doing it for lots of years. And so, we are typically first with new tendencies and in a position to convey out finishes that others cannot replicate even once they attempt to copy us, they cannot replicate.

And so, once you truly go and have a look at the distinction between our furnishings and even our tabletop or any of the classes versus theirs, you are going to see an enormous distinction in high quality and the ensuing value even with their markdowns, our price is best. We hold taking a look at that, taking a look at whether or not it is the couch, the espresso desk, the rug. I imply, once you take a product down like-for-like and you actually have a look at it in particular person, have a look at the value, I really feel superb about the place we sit. There’s at all times a couple of exceptions.

There’s at all times a couple of opening value factors that I want have been sharper. These are — the opening value factors are the place that I wish to get again to be extra aggressive as we have been pre-pandemic. These are the areas the place I feel all people acquired a bit of too excessive. However in complete, I actually do not assume it is a aggressive pricing problem as a result of it is arduous to match our items in opposition to anybody else’s items.

Now when it comes to stock within the channel, Mattress Tub & Past has a ton of stock that they are urgent and going to proceed to press at deep markdowns. Once more, totally different merchandise. However will that damage all people on the fringes? That one is perhaps the largest issue going. However the Wayfair and the Amazon, these guys are the largest on the market, nevertheless it’s simply — it is a very totally different enterprise.

So, you may purchase one factor from them in your storage or one thing, however you are not going to furnish your front room, your full bed room from a few of these manufacturers. Our buyer would not anyway as a result of there are — what they’re on the lookout for is a a lot increased high quality stage and design sensibility. They usually need somebody to assist them put it collectively. So these are, I feel, the components at play, and we simply must ensure that we’re not distracted by a short-term blip and that we’re all centered on what we have constructed right here and persevering with to feed it, which implies innovation, innovation and product and repair and persevering with to press ahead when everybody else is doing the duck and canopy.

And that is the factor. I imply it is thrilling, although it is a totally different hand than we anticipate it to be dealt proper now. It is an thrilling time to actually give it some thought offensively. And what is the firm that we wish to seem like and once more, make enhancements to? If it is a recession, what are we going to seem like on the opposite facet of it? And I feel once you noticed us come out of ’08, we have been stronger and we’re a lot stronger popping out of the pandemic.

And no matter that is going to be, I’d say the identical factor, we’ll be a lot stronger popping out of this, too.


Your subsequent query comes from the road of Chuck Grom with Gordon Haskett. Your line is now open.

Chuck GromGordon Haskett Analysis Advisors — Analyst

Hey, thanks very a lot. Thanks, Laura. Traditionally, there’s been a pleasant lead, lag relationship between housing turnover and furnishings gross sales. I am curious, Laura, do you assume that relationship nonetheless exists? Or has it been decoupled? When you hearken to the house enchancment names over the previous week, they’re seeming to recommend that this time is totally different and that we’re seeing some decoupling, which might not directly be good for your corporation over the following couple of years.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Yeah. I imply I simply assume it is a persons are nervous form of state of affairs. As I mentioned earlier, Lowe’s, House Depot, they’re actually very optimistic. I am certain all people listened to their calls and folks nonetheless love their houses.

And the sentiment remains to be I desire a nicer house. I desire a second house. I desire a greater house. Now they don’t seem to be going to purchase one as a result of no person desires to purchase proper now.

That does not imply that you do not nonetheless love your private home, you do not wish to nonetheless spend cash on it. And so, the renovation, numerous these renovation tasks are nonetheless lagging from the pandemic once you could not even get a fridge, proper? You continue to cannot get a fridge. And so, you are not finished along with your kitchen, so you are not fishing your kitchen but. So, it is attention-grabbing that these tasks are nonetheless lagging, and there is nonetheless, there ought to be, in my view, there ought to be nonetheless an enormous upside as they end these tasks after which they go to spruce up the furnishings.

As a result of in the event you spend some huge cash in your new loos and your new kitchen, that are often the place individuals go first, usually talking, you purchase furnishings subsequent. So, it ought to be a really constructive factor for us. What I feel is occurring is, proper now’s extra worry than actuality, and we’ll see what occurs and which method that goes. However as I mentioned earlier, our clients are nonetheless in actually good financial form.

They’re simply — I feel they’re taking a small pause for a minute as everybody’s been speaking about.

Chuck GromGordon Haskett Analysis Advisors — Analyst

OK. Thanks very a lot. After which I do know directionally, B2B is extra accretive than the normal retail enterprise. However clearly, a number of the optimism, I feel on the long term, margin construction is in B2B, significantly because it ramps.

I used to be questioning in the event you or Jeff might simply perhaps converse to a number of the buckets of why that B2B enterprise is a lot stronger on the margin entrance as a result of I feel it might assist bridge the hole from a number of the fears on a number of the prices beginning to come again into the P&L as an offset.

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

A few issues there, Chuck. So, to start with, B2B is barely accretive to our op margin. And actually, the dynamic there may be you do not have the overhead of a number of the retail after which not as a lot promoting prices. So, it does lend some accretion from that standpoint.

However I feel when you consider the prices which are hitting the P&L, the second a part of your query is, I feel we’ve to consider that basically in two phases. The primary is the close to time period, which is This autumn and the primary half of ’23, the place we’re seeing the upper product price, the next inbound delivery prices, and all of our extra prices as we work by means of our backlog. That may turn out to be a tailwind for us. As we flip the nook and head within the again half of ’23 and ’24, I feel that in and of itself will assist our margins long run.

After which B2B will actually simply be the icing on the cake on prime of it.


Your subsequent query comes from the road of Seth Basham with Wedbush Securities. Your line is now open.

Seth BashamWedbush Securities — Analyst

Thanks quite a bit and good afternoon. My first query is round merchandise margins. You guys have been doing an amazing job holding the road on merchandise margin regardless of a number of the pressures. As you progress ahead, might you assist us perceive the places and takes the arc of merchandise margins within the fourth quarter and thru the primary half of 2023? Thanks.

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Thanks, Seth. We do not information particular line objects like that, however we’re providing you with a steering on the general course of gross margin, with March margin a sone part of that. And we do see headwinds there in This autumn and within the first half of ’23 for all the explanations that we have talked about, the product price, the ocean prices after which our personal challenges with getting by means of our backlog with out-of-market shipments and a number of shipments to clients. And once more, I feel that that turns into an enormous tailwind.

As we glance to the again half of ’23 and ’24, that offers us optimism from the long-term sustainability of our margins. 

Seth BashamWedbush Securities — Analyst

Received it. Simply to border the query in another way then, Jeff. Fascinated about the merchandise margins and the way you’ve got been in a position to maintain them flat yr over yr given the extent of stock that is rising and the seemingly increased stage of clearance and discontinued traces that you will have going ahead, would you anticipate to have the ability to offset these pressures on merchandise margins with issues like product prices and in-bound delivery price reductions?

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

I feel one factor to consider with our stock that is totally different from, say, an attire retailer, vogue retailers, we’ve a a lot increased penetration of the core. So, we do not have that seasonal stress to maneuver like different firms do which are within the retail business. And from a long-term standpoint, once more, to the again half of ’23 and into ’24 these headwinds we’re experiencing actually turn out to be tailwinds, and that is the place we see alternative on the margin from a long-term standpoint.

Seth BashamWedbush Securities — Analyst



Your subsequent query comes from the road of Brad Thomas with KeyBanc. Your line is now open.

Brad ThomasKeyBanc Capital Markets — Analyst

Hello, thanks. Two monetary questions, if I might. The primary simply serious about gross sales for the fourth quarter, I do know you reiterated the total yr steering, however technically, if we again into what’s implied, it is a fairly wide selection. Questioning if there’s any extra coloration you could possibly share with us with how to consider the fourth quarter revenues.

After which we get numerous questions in regards to the structural margins of Williams-Sonoma and it does appear to me that you have finished some nice issues with the manufacturers and possibly deserve the next merchandise margin than pre-pandemic ranges. And equally, you’ve got finished an amazing job of getting extra environment friendly with occupancy expense and having a larger mixture of e-commerce gross sales and maybe that ought to assist the next margin. However I’d love to listen to your newest ideas on maybe what structural margins search for you as we take into consideration maybe slower tendencies forward. Thanks. 

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

OK. Let’s begin with the This autumn implied gross sales. And yeah, it is a variety. As I spoke to in my ready remarks, we noticed an incredible quantity of choppiness in Q3.

The results of that choppiness is there’s a variety of estimates. However our steering is a mix of these ranges of estimates and displays our greatest estimate as to what we see doubtlessly occur in This autumn. Because of this — because it pertains to the structural margin, there’s been fairly a little bit of change throughout the structural margin. And right here, I feel there’s quite a bit to speak about when it comes to how we actually improved our working mannequin.

The primary one is the impression of elimination of sitewide promotions. That’s actually buttressing our merchandise margins and giving us numerous alternative there to proceed to maintain that. I feel it speaks to one thing we actually discovered and form of perhaps relearned within the pandemic is that our proprietary differentiated product that our in-house design produced actually instructions its personal value within the market. And that product actually resonates with the shopper, and so they’re actually keen to pay for it.

The second factor is, all through the pandemic, we actually, primary, improved the profitability of our retail shops, and as combine has shifted to e-commerce, which by nature is extra worthwhile for us. So, a mixture of these various factors actually helps us with sustaining the margin. After which over the long run, we see extra alternative to take prices and drive effectivity all through our P&L.


This concludes our question-and-answer portion for right this moment. I now flip the decision again to administration for closing remarks.

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Yeah. Thanks all for becoming a member of us. I wish to want you a really completely satisfied vacation season and look ahead to speaking to you subsequent yr.


[Operator signoff]

Length: 0 minutes

Name contributors:

Jeremy BrooksChief Accounting Officer and Head of Investor Relations

Laura AlberPresident and Chief Government Officer

Jeff HowieChief Monetary Officer

Peter BenedictRobert W. Baird and Firm — Analyst

Steve ShemeshRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Cristina FernandezTelsey Advisory Group — Analyst

Adrienne YihBarclays — Analyst

Anthony ChukumbaLoop Capital Markets — Analyst

Max RakhlenkoCowen and Firm — Analyst

Oliver WintermantelEvercore ISI — Analyst

Steven ZacconeCiti — Analyst

Chuck GromGordon Haskett Analysis Advisors — Analyst

Seth BashamWedbush Securities — Analyst

Brad ThomasKeyBanc Capital Markets — Analyst

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