Housewares retailer Williams-Sonoma, Inc. announced operating results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2004. Net revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2003 increased 16.9 percent to $1.004 billion. Net revenues for fiscal year 2003 increased 16.7 percent to U.S. $2.75 billion. Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2003 increased 26.9 percent to $0.85, the high end of the guidance provided by the retailer on Jan. 8, 2004. Diluted earnings per share for fiscal year 2003 also increased 26.9 percent to $1.32.
"We are very pleased to deliver to our shareholders another consecutive year of record financial performance," Ed Mueller, CEO, said in a statement. "In fiscal year 2003, we delivered the highest pre-tax operating margin and diluted earnings per share in the history of the company, increased our return on assets, repurchased approximately 1.8 million shares of our common stock, and met or exceeded in every quarter the earnings projections we gave to our shareholders. Operationally in 2003, we deepened our commitment to multi-channel retailing by launching our newest concept, PBTeen, in both the catalog and Internet, and by expanding our West Elm concept into both the retail and Internet channels. We also substantially improved our supply chain cost structure and continued to invest in the infrastructure and systems necessary to drive future operational efficiencies.
"To support the growth in our core brands and to prepare for the expected growth in our new and emerging brands (PBTeen, Hold Everything, West Elm, and Williams-Sonoma Home), we increased our distribution square footage by approximately 35 percent and substantially upgraded our distribution operating systems," Mr. Mueller continued. "The successful execution of all of these initiatives has left us well positioned to deliver on the 2004 financial guidance we provided to our shareholders in our 2004 guidance press release this morning."
Howard Lester, chairman, added, "I am extremely proud of this company-wide effort. Our 2003 results once again demonstrated our ability to drive top-line sales growth, while at the same time, consistently delivering on the financial and operational commitments that we have set for ourselves. I believe that this consistency in execution is a distinct competitive advantage that will continue to benefit us in 2004 and beyond as we continue rolling out our new and emerging brands."
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