Williams-Sonoma posts surprise rise in same-store sales on online boost

(Reuters) - Williams-Sonoma Inc WSM.N posted a surprise rise in quarterly same-store sales on Thursday, as the retailer's online business boomed amid coronavirus-led lockdowns, sending its shares up 8% in extended trading.

The company, which owns West Elm and Pottery Barn, benefited from a surge in demand for furniture and other house essentials as the months-long lockdown confined consumers to their homes, with many setting up home offices due to work-from-home orders.

“This crisis has accelerated our industry’s shift to e-commerce, and given rise to a newfound appreciation for the home,” Chief Executive Officer Laura Alber said.

Same-store sales rose 2.6% in the first quarter, while analysts had expected an 11.5% fall. Comparable sales in the e-commerce segment surged 31.25%.

First quarter revenue rose slightly to $1.24 billion, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.08 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company said net income fell to $35.4 million or 45 cents per share in the quarter ended May 3, from $52.6 million or 66 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 74 cents per share.

Reporting by C Nivedita in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel