Williams-Sonoma cuts back on catalogs

Williams-Sonoma, parent of specialty home decor retailers Pottery Barn and West Elm, has cut back on catalog distribution by a third, according to executive vp and chief marketing officer Thomas Weisel.

Williams-Sonoma will reduce its catalog page count by 31 percent, and cut back its catalog circulation by 25 percent. The plan is expected to help save the retailer $40 million in marketing costs.

"We know that the pages we would have mailed would not have yielded a profitable return," Connolly said. He said the company would increase its reliance on email marketing.

The company has trimmed its outlook as well in the face of a down economy.

According to Williams-Sonoma CEO Howard Lester, "It would be hard and insane actually to forecast positive comps in the fourth quarter, so we're not going to do that. But we're always optimistic. You have to be."

"This is probably the worst I've seen it by far," he added.

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