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Williams-Sonoma Q4 sales increase 6.1%

BY Ken Clark

Williams-Sonoma, the upscale purveyor of housewares, believes its multichannel strategy is paying off with sales and earnings. 

Fourth-quarter sales increased 6.1% to $1.268 billion, compared with $1.195 billion in the same quarter last year.

Net income of $122.6 million for the quarter was up 8.1% from $113.4 million.

“Fiscal 2011 was a year of milestones — both in terms of operational performance and progress against our long-term growth initiatives,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO. “Through strong execution and a superior multichannel strategy, we delivered record earnings and profitability in a promotional environment.” 

Not counting direct-to-consumer sales, retail net revenues in the fourth quarter increased 1.1% to $737 million versus $729 million in the same quarter last year. The growth was primarily driven by increases in the Pottery Barn, West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids brands in addition to international franchise operations, partially offset by a decrease in the Williams-Sonoma brand and the sales impact from the closure of Williams-Sonoma Home stores during the fourth quarter. 

The company also announced that senior VP and corporate controller and treasurer Julie Whalen will take over as acting CFO for Sharon McCollam, who has retired.

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Bosch Home Appliances points to efficiency credentials

BY Ken Clark

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded Bosch home appliances a 2012 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award. 

Bosch, an Energy Star partner since 2007, will be honored for its long-term commitment to energy efficiency. For instance, 100% of Bosch major appliances are Energy Star-rated and exceed federal energy standards in dishwashers by up to 97%, the company said. Bosch points to its Bosch 800 Plus dishwasher as the most energy- and water-efficient dishwasher in North America.

Bosch will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on March 15, an event that will mark the 20th anniversary of Energy Star.

“Bosch is committed to partnering with Energy Star in our efforts to increase energy efficiency in its entire line of German-engineered kitchen appliances that includes dishwashers, ranges, cooktops, refrigeration and laundry pairs.  We are proud to help protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Micaela Shaw, brand manager, Bosch home appliances.

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Home Depot partners with U.S. Green Building Council

BY Brae Canlen

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), in conjunction with The Home Depot, has launched an online green home products database. The database is a special “microsite” within homedepot.com that features products geared toward green home building, many of which may contribute toward earning LEED points and prerequisites for the LEED for Homes program, making it easier for homeowners and builders to find the products they need, according to the joint press release.

Currently, more than 2,500 products sold at The Home Depot are listed on the website.

“As the world’s largest home improvement retailer, we want to show our customers that building green can be easy and affordable,” said Lindsay Chason, senior manager of environmental innovation at The Home Depot. “We have innovative, environmentally friendly products that make LEED certification simpler. Now through our partnership with U.S. Green Building Council and their LEED for Homes program, we are simplifying the process of bringing healthier, greener homes to reality.”

The USGBC and The Home Depot product database debuted last month as part of the TED Conference during which Steve Glenn, CEO of LivingHomes, a LEED home builder since 2006 and the builder of the first LEED Platinum home in the nation, showcased LivingHome C6. C6 is the first affordable housing line from the pre-fabricated builder. Once sited in their final locations, C6 homes are designed to meet the requirements of the LEED for Homes rating system. The home was designed as part of a new partnership with Make It Right, a nonprofit founded by Brad Pitt and renowned architect William McDonough to build 150 Cradle to Cradle-inspired LEED Platinum homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each C6 will help support the efforts of Make It Right.

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