Company Quick10K Filing
Williams Sonoma
Price67.18 EPS2
Shares79 P/E28
MCap5,338 P/FCF59
Net Debt145 EBIT255
TEV5,483 TEV/EBIT22
TTM 2019-11-03, in MM, except price, ratios
10-K 2020-02-02 Filed 2020-03-27
10-Q 2019-11-03 Filed 2019-12-12
10-Q 2019-08-04 Filed 2019-09-12
10-Q 2019-05-05 Filed 2019-06-14
10-K 2019-02-03 Filed 2019-04-04
10-Q 2018-10-28 Filed 2018-12-07
10-Q 2018-07-29 Filed 2018-09-07
10-Q 2018-04-29 Filed 2018-06-08
10-K 2018-01-28 Filed 2018-03-29
10-Q 2017-10-29 Filed 2017-12-06
10-Q 2017-07-30 Filed 2017-09-08
10-Q 2017-04-30 Filed 2017-06-02
10-K 2017-01-29 Filed 2017-03-30
10-Q 2016-10-30 Filed 2016-12-07
10-Q 2016-07-31 Filed 2016-09-08
10-Q 2016-05-01 Filed 2016-06-07
10-K 2016-01-31 Filed 2016-03-31
10-Q 2015-11-01 Filed 2015-12-11
10-Q 2015-08-02 Filed 2015-09-11
10-Q 2015-05-03 Filed 2015-06-12
10-K 2015-02-01 Filed 2015-04-02
10-Q 2014-11-02 Filed 2014-12-05
10-Q 2014-08-03 Filed 2014-09-12
10-Q 2014-05-04 Filed 2014-06-12
10-K 2014-02-02 Filed 2014-04-03
10-Q 2013-08-04 Filed 2013-09-12
10-Q 2013-05-05 Filed 2013-06-14
10-K 2013-02-03 Filed 2013-04-04
10-Q 2012-10-28 Filed 2012-12-07
10-Q 2012-07-29 Filed 2012-09-07
10-Q 2012-04-29 Filed 2012-06-08
10-K 2012-01-29 Filed 2012-03-29
10-Q 2011-10-30 Filed 2011-12-09
10-Q 2011-07-31 Filed 2011-09-09
10-Q 2011-05-01 Filed 2011-06-10
10-K 2011-01-30 Filed 2011-03-31
10-Q 2010-10-31 Filed 2010-12-10
10-Q 2010-08-01 Filed 2010-09-10
10-Q 2010-05-02 Filed 2010-06-11
10-K 2010-01-31 Filed 2010-04-01
8-K 2020-05-11 Enter Agreement
8-K 2020-03-23 Off-BS Arrangement
8-K 2020-03-18 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2020-03-09 Officers, Exhibits
8-K 2020-01-17 Officers
8-K 2019-12-16 Officers
8-K 2019-11-21 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-08-28 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-08-23 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement
8-K 2019-07-22 Officers
8-K 2019-07-08 Officers
8-K 2019-06-05 Shareholder Vote
8-K 2019-05-30 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-04-03 Officers, Exhibits
8-K 2019-03-20 Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2019-02-12 Officers
8-K 2018-10-25 Earnings, Officers, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-24 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement
8-K 2018-08-22 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-30 Officers, Shareholder Vote, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-23 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-14 Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-01-08 Enter Agreement

WSM 10K Annual Report

Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary
EX-4.2 d856872dex42.htm
EX-21.1 d856872dex211.htm
EX-23.1 d856872dex231.htm
EX-31.1 d856872dex311.htm
EX-31.2 d856872dex312.htm
EX-32.1 d856872dex321.htm
EX-32.2 d856872dex322.htm

Williams Sonoma Earnings 2020-02-02

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow
4.03.22.41.60.80.02012201420172020
Assets, Equity
1.71.41.00.70.30.02012201420172020
Rev, G Profit, Net Income
0.50.30.20.0-0.1-0.32012201420172020
Ops, Inv, Fin

10-K
0.010.012017-07-310.010.01P1Y2018-07-312020-07-31P1Yfalse2019FY0000719955--02-02WILLIAMS SONOMA INCCAAmounts are shown net of shares withheld for employee taxes.Primarily relates to our adoption of ASU 2014-09 in fiscal 2018. See Note A.Relates to our adoption of ASU 2016-02, Leases, in fiscal 2019. See Note A.Intrinsic value for outstanding and unvested restricted stock units is based on the market value of our common stock on the last business day of the fiscal year (or $70.08).Intrinsic value for releases is based on the market value on the date of release.In fiscal 2019, we adopted Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2016-02, Leases, as of the adoption date. Amounts reported for fiscal 2018 and prior years have not been adjusted, and continue to be reported in accordance with previous lease accounting guidance. See Note A to the Consolidated Financial Statements. Primarily consists of net revenues from our international franchise operations, Rejuvenation and Mark and Graham.Includes net revenues related to our international operations (including our operations in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and our franchise businesses) of approximately $365.6 million, $346.8 million and $328.2 million for fiscal 2019, fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2017, respectively. 0000719955 2019-02-04 2020-02-02 0000719955 2020-02-02 0000719955 2019-02-03 0000719955 2018-01-29 2019-02-03 0000719955 2017-01-29 2018-01-28 0000719955 2018-10-29 2019-02-03 0000719955 2017-01-30 2018-01-28 0000719955 2019-08-04 0000719955 2020-03-22 0000719955 2019-02-04 2019-05-05 0000719955 2019-05-06 2019-08-04 0000719955 2019-08-05 2019-11-03 0000719955 2019-11-04 2020-02-02 0000719955 2018-01-29 2018-04-29 0000719955 2018-04-30 2018-07-29 0000719955 2018-07-30 2018-10-28 0000719955 2018-01-28 0000719955 2017-01-28 0000719955 wsm:UnsecuredRevolvingLineOfCreditMember 2020-02-02 0000719955 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Table of Contents
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
FORM
10-K
 
(Mark One):
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
 
 
For the fiscal year ended February 2, 2020.
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
 
 
For the transition period from
                
to
                
Commission file number
001-14077
 
WILLIAMS-SONOMA, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
     
Delaware
 
94-2203880
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
     
3250 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA
 
94109
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
 
 
 
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (415)
 421-7900
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
         
Title of each class:
 
Trading
Symbol(s):
 
Name of each exchange
on which registered:
Common Stock, par value $.01 per share
 
WSM
 
New York Stock Exchange, Inc.
 
 
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes  
    No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes  
    No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes  
    No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation
S-T
(§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).  Yes  
    No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a
non-accelerated
filer, a smaller reporting company, or emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer  
    Accelerated filer  
    
Non-accelerated
filer  
Smaller reporting company      Emerging growth company  
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule
12b-2
of the Act).  Yes  
    No  
As of August 4, 2019, the approximate aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by
non-affiliates
was $4,956,461,000. It is assumed for purposes of this computation that an affiliate includes all persons as of August 4, 2019 listed as executive officers and directors with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This aggregate market value includes all shares held in the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Stock Fund within the registrant’s 401(k) Plan.
As of March 22, 2020, 77,197,681 shares of the registrant’s common stock were outstanding.

Table of Contents
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of our definitive Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, also referred to in this Annual Report on Form
10-K
as our Proxy Statement, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, have been incorporated in Part III hereof.
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form
10-K
and the letter to stockholders contained in this Annual Report contain forward-looking statements within the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they do not fully materialize or prove incorrect, could cause our business and operating results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to: projections of earnings, revenues, growth and other financial items; the strength of our business and our brands; our ability to execute strategic priorities and growth initiatives regarding digital leadership, product and technology innovation, cross-brand initiatives, retail transformation and operational excellence; our beliefs about our competitive advantages and areas of potential future growth in the market; our ability to drive long-term sustainable returns; the plans, strategies, initiatives and objectives of management for future operations; our brands, products and related initiatives, including our ability to introduce new brands, brand extensions, products and product lines and bring in new customers; our belief that our
e-commerce
websites and direct-mail catalogs act as a cost-efficient means of testing market acceptance of new products and new brands; the complementary nature of our
e-commerce
and retail channels; our marketing efforts; our acquisition of Outward, Inc., including the valuation of intangible assets acquired; our global business and expansion efforts, including franchise, other third-party arrangements and company-owned operations; our ability to attract new customers; the seasonal variations in demand; our ability to recruit, retain and motivate skilled personnel; our belief in the reasonableness of the steps taken to protect the security and confidentiality of the information we collect; our belief in the adequacy of our facilities and the availability of suitable additional or substitute space; our belief in the ultimate resolution of current legal proceedings; the payment of dividends; our stock repurchase program; our capital allocation strategy in fiscal 2020; our planned use of cash in fiscal 2020; our compliance with financial covenants; our belief that our cash on hand and available credit facilities will provide adequate liquidity for our business operations over the next 12 months; the impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; the impact of tariffs on our business and our results of operations; our belief regarding the effects of potential losses under our indemnification obligations; the impact of inflation; the effects of changes in our inventory reserves; the impact of new accounting pronouncements; the impact of the coronavirus on our retail store operations, global supply chain and customer spending and demand; and statements of belief and statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. You can identify these and other forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “will,” “may,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “intends,” “potential,” “continue,” or the negative of such terms, or other comparable terminology.
The risks, uncertainties and assumptions referred to above that could cause our results to differ materially from the results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in Item 1A hereto and the risks, uncertainties and assumptions discussed from time to time in our other public filings and public announcements. All forward-looking statements included in this document are based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
1

Table of Contents
WILLIAMS-SONOMA, INC.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM
10-K
FISCAL YEAR ENDED FEBRUARY 2, 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
                 
 
 
 
PAGE
 
 
 
PART I
 
 
 
Item 1.
       
3
 
 
Item 1A.
       
6
 
 
Item 1B.
       
24
 
 
Item 2.
       
24
 
 
Item 3.
       
25
 
 
Item 4.
       
26
 
             
 
 
PART II
 
 
 
Item 5.
       
27
 
 
Item 6.
       
29
 
 
Item 7.
       
30
 
 
Item 7A.
       
40
 
 
Item 8.
       
41
 
 
Item 9.
       
68
 
 
Item 9A.
       
68
 
 
Item 9B.
       
69
 
             
 
 
PART III
 
 
 
Item 10.
       
70
 
 
Item 11.
       
70
 
 
Item 12.
       
70
 
 
Item 13.
       
70
 
 
Item 14.
       
70
 
             
 
 
PART IV
 
 
 
Item 15.
       
71
 
 
Item 16.
       
76
 
 
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PART I
ITEM 1.
BUSINESS
 
 
OVERVIEW
Williams-Sonoma, Inc., incorporated in 1973, is a omni-channel specialty retailer of high quality products for the home.
In 1956, our founder, Chuck Williams, turned a passion for cooking and eating with friends into a small business with a big idea. He opened a store in Sonoma, California, to sell the French cookware that intrigued him while visiting Europe but that could not be found in America. Chuck’s business, which set a standard for customer service, took off and helped fuel a revolution in American cooking and entertaining that continues today.
In the decades that followed, the quality of our products, our ability to identify new opportunities in the market and our people-first approach to business have facilitated our expansion beyond the kitchen into nearly every area of the home. Growth across the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio has been fueled by three areas of strategic investment: brand experimentation and innovation, for a
best-in-class
approach to omni-channel retail experiences; operational excellence across the enterprise, from quality product and sourcing, to efficient manufacturing and supply chain; and culture and corporate social responsibility, from commitments to foster women in leadership and embrace diversity, to a healthy impact on our community and environment.
Today, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is one of the United States’ largest
e-commerce
retailers with some of the best known and most beloved brands in home furnishings. We operate in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom and offer international shipping to customers worldwide. Our unaffiliated franchisees operate stores in the Middle East, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea, as well as
e-commerce
 websites in certain locations.
Williams Sonoma
From the beginning, our namesake brand, Williams Sonoma, has been bringing people together around food. A leading specialty retailer of high-quality products for the kitchen and home, the brand seeks to provide world-class service and an engaging customer experience. Williams Sonoma products include everything for cooking, dining and entertaining, including: cookware, tools, electrics, cutlery, tabletop and bar, outdoor, furniture and a vast library of cookbooks. The brand also includes Williams Sonoma Home, a premium concept that offers classic home furnishings and decorative accessories, extending the Williams Sonoma lifestyle beyond the kitchen into every room of the home.
Pottery Barn
Established in 1949 and acquired by Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in 1986, Pottery Barn is a premier omni-channel home furnishings retailer. The brand was founded on the idea that home furnishings should be exceptional in comfort, quality, style and value. Pottery Barn’s stores, website, and catalogs are specially designed to make shopping an enjoyable experience, with inspirational lifestyle displays dedicated to every space in the home. Pottery Barn products include furniture, bedding, bathroom accessories, rugs, curtains, lighting, tabletop, outdoor and decorative accessories.
Pottery Barn Kids
Launched in 1999, Pottery Barn Kids serves as an inspirational destination for creating childhood memories by decorating nurseries, bedrooms and play spaces. Pottery Barn Kids offers exclusive, innovative and high-quality products designed specifically for creating magical spaces where children can play, laugh, learn and grow.
West Elm
Born in Brooklyn in 2002, West Elm is dedicated to transforming people’s lives and spaces through creativity, style and purpose. West Elm creates unique, modern and affordable home decor and curate a global selection of local, ethically-sourced and Fair Trade Certified products, available online and in our stores worldwide.
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Pottery Barn Teen
Launched in 2003, Pottery Barn Teen is the first home concept to focus exclusively on the teen market. The brand offers a complete line of furniture, bedding, lighting, decorative accents and more for teen bedrooms, dorm rooms, study spaces and lounges. Pottery Barn Teen’s innovative products are specifically designed to help teens create a comfortable and stylish room that reflects their own individual aesthetic.
Rejuvenation
Rejuvenation, founded in 1977 with a passion for timeless design and quality craftsmanship, was acquired by Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in 2011. With design, manufacturing and distribution facilities in Portland, Oregon, Rejuvenation offers a wide assortment of
made-to-order
lighting, hardware, furniture and home décor inspired by history, designed for today and made to last for years to come.
Mark and Graham
Launched in 2012, Mark and Graham is designed to be a premier online destination for personalized gift buying. With over 100 monograms and font types to choose from, a Mark and Graham purchase is uniquely personal. The brand’s product lines include women’s and men’s accessories, small leather goods, jewelry, key item apparel, paper, entertaining and bar, home décor and seasonal items.
Outward
In 2017, we acquired Outward, Inc., a
3-D
imaging and augmented reality platform for the home furnishings and décor industry. Headquartered in San Jose, California, Outward’s technology enables scalable applications in product visualization, digital room design and augmented and virtual reality.
OPERATIONS
As of February 2, 2020, we had the following merchandise strategies: Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm, Pottery Barn Teen, Williams Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation and Mark and Graham, which sell our products through our
e-commerce
websites, direct-mail catalogs and retail stores. We offer shipping from many of our brands to countries worldwide, while our catalogs reach customers throughout the U.S. The
e-commerce
business complements the retail business by building brand awareness and acting as an effective advertising vehicle. We believe that our
e-commerce
websites and our direct-mail catalogs act as a cost-efficient means of testing market acceptance of new products and new brands. Leveraging these insights and our omni-channel positioning, our marketing efforts, including digital advertising and the circulation of catalogs, are targeted toward driving sales to each of our channels. Consistent with our published privacy policies, we send our catalogs to addresses from our proprietary customer list, as well as to addresses from lists of other mail order direct marketers, magazines and companies with which we establish a business relationship. In accordance with prevailing industry practice and our privacy policies, we may also rent our list to select mailers. Our customer mailings are continually updated to include new prospects and to eliminate
non-responders.
In addition, the retail business complements the
e-commerce
business by building brand awareness and attracting new customers to our brands. Our retail stores serve as billboards for our brands, which we believe inspires our customers to also shop online and through our catalogs. We operate 614 stores, which include 572 stores in 43 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, 20 stores in Canada, 19 stores in Australia and 3 stores in the United Kingdom. We also have multi-year franchise agreements with third parties in the Middle East, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea that currently operate 129 franchised stores as well as
e-commerce
websites in certain locations.
SUPPLIERS
We purchase most of our merchandise from numerous foreign and domestic manufacturers and importers, the largest of which accounted for approximately 2% of our purchases during fiscal 2019. Approximately 65% of our merchandise purchases in fiscal 2019 were sourced from foreign vendors, predominantly in Asia and Europe. Substantially all of these purchases were negotiated and paid for in U.S. dollars. In addition, we manufacture merchandise, primarily upholstered furniture and lighting, at our facilities located in North Carolina, California, Oregon and Mississippi.
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COMPETITION AND SEASONALITY
The specialty
e-commerce
and retail businesses are highly competitive. Our
e-commerce
websites, direct-mail catalogs and retail stores compete with other retailers, including
e-commerce
retailers, large department stores, discount retailers, other specialty retailers offering home-centered assortments and other direct-mail catalogs. The substantial sales growth in the
direct-to-customer
industry within the last decade, particularly in
e-commerce,
has encouraged the entry of many new competitors, including discount retailers selling similar products at reduced prices, new business models and an increase in competition from established companies. We compete on the basis of our brand authority, the quality of our merchandise, service to our customers, our proprietary customer list, our
e-commerce
websites and our marketing capabilities, as well as the location and appearance of our stores. We believe that we compare favorably with many of our current competitors with respect to some or all of these factors.
Our business is subject to substantial seasonal variations in demand. Historically, a significant portion of our net revenues and net earnings have been realized during the period from October through January, and levels of net revenues and net earnings have typically been lower during the period from February through September. We believe this is the general pattern associated with the retail industry. In preparation for and during our holiday selling season, we hire a substantial number of additional temporary employees, primarily in our retail stores, customer care centers and distribution facilities, and incur significant fixed catalog production and mailing costs.
EMPLOYEES
As of February 2, 2020, we had approximately 27,000 employees, of whom approximately 11,600 were full-time. In preparation for and during our fiscal 2019 holiday selling season, we hired approximately 8,500 temporary employees, primarily in our retail stores, customer care centers and distribution facilities.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
As of February 2, 2020, we own and/or have applied to register 164 unique trademarks and service marks. We own and/or have applied to register our key brand names as trademarks in the U.S. as well as 121 additional jurisdictions. Generally, exclusive rights to the trademarks and service marks are held by Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and are used by our subsidiaries and franchisees under a license. These marks include our core brand names as well as brand names for selected products and services. The core brand names in particular, including “Williams Sonoma,” “Pottery Barn,” “pottery barn kids,” “Pottery Barn Teen,” “west elm,” “Williams Sonoma Home,” “Rejuvenation” and “Mark and Graham” are of material importance to us. Trademarks are generally valid as long as they are in use and/or their registrations are properly maintained, and they have not been found to have become generic. Trademark registrations can generally be renewed indefinitely so long as the marks are in use. We also own numerous copyrights and trade dress rights for our products, product packaging, catalogs, books, house publications, website designs and store designs, among other things, which are used by our subsidiaries and franchisees under a license. As of February 2, 2020, we own and/or have applied to register 277 patents in connection with certain product designs, inventions and proprietary technology. Patents are generally valid for 14 to 20 years as long as their registrations are properly maintained. In addition, we have registered and maintain numerous Internet domain names, including “williams-sonoma.com,” “potterybarn.com,” “potterybarnkids.com,” “potterybarnteen.com,” “westelm.com,” “wshome.com,” “williams-sonomainc.com,” “rejuvenation.com” and “markandgraham.com.” Collectively, the trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade dress rights and domain names that we hold are of material importance to us.
AVAILABLE INFORMATION
We file annual reports on Form
10-K,
quarterly reports on Form
10-Q,
current reports on Form
8-K,
proxy and information statements and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a), 14 and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The SEC maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and other companies that file materials electronically with the SEC. Our annual reports, Forms
10-K,
Forms 
10-Q,
Forms
8-K
and proxy and information statements are also available, free of charge, on our website at www.williams-sonomainc.com.
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Investors and others should note that we announce material financial and operational information to our investors on our Investor Relations website (http://ir.williams-sonomainc.com), press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts. Information on our website is not, and will not be deemed, a part of this report or incorporated into any other filings we make with the SEC.
ITEM 1A.
RISK FACTORS
 
 
A description of the risks and uncertainties associated with our business is set forth below. You should carefully consider such risks and uncertainties, together with the other information contained in this report and in our other public filings. If any of such risks and uncertainties actually occurs, our business, financial condition or operating results could differ materially from the plans, projections and other forward-looking statements included in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and elsewhere in this report and in our other public filings. In addition, if any of the following risks and uncertainties, or if any other risks and uncertainties, actually occurs, our business, financial condition or operating results could be harmed substantially, which could cause the market price of our stock to decline, perhaps significantly.
The Coronavirus (or
COVID-19)
outbreak is expected to have a material impact on our results of operations, financial position and liquidity.
The outbreak of
COVID-19
continues to grow both in the U.S. and globally, and related government and private sector responsive actions are expected to adversely affect our business operations. It is currently impossible to predict the effect and ultimate impact of the
COVID-19
pandemic as the situation is rapidly evolving. In March 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency as a result of the
COVID-19
outbreak in the U.S. The pandemic has caused public health officials to recommend precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially when congregating in heavily populated areas, such as malls and shopping centers. In recent days, there have been mandates from federal, state and local authorities requiring reduction of operating hours and forced temporary closures of
non-essential
retailers and other businesses, which have adversely affected our stores, further negatively impacting our business.
As a result of these developments, to protect our employees, customers and the communities in which we operate, on March 17, 2020, we announced we will be temporarily closing all of our U.S. and Canadian retail stores until at least April 2, 2020 depending upon how the
COVID-19
outbreak evolves. This is expected to adversely affect our operations, cash flows and liquidity, as our retail store revenues comprise approximately 44% of our net revenues. Further, after containment of the virus or after some or all of our stores reopen, any significant reduction in consumer willingness to visit malls and shopping centers, levels of consumer spending at our stores, employee willingness to work in our stores, or the prolonged temporary closure of our retail stores or distribution centers, relating to the pandemic or its impact on the economy, consumer sentiment or health concerns, would result in a further loss of revenues, profits, cash flows, and other materially impactful effects on our business and operations.
In addition, we have implemented work-from-home policies for certain employees. The effects of
shelter-in-place
orders and our work-from-home policies may negatively impact productivity and disrupt our business, the magnitude of which will depend, in part, on the length and severity of the restrictions and other limitations on our ability to conduct our business in the ordinary course. Although we continue to sell products through our
e-commerce
sites and our distribution centers remain open and operational through the date of filing of this Annual Report, governmental mandates or illness or absence of a substantial number of distribution center employees could require that we temporarily close one or more of our distribution centers, or may prohibit or significantly limit us, or our third party logistics providers from delivering packages to our customers and our stores, which would complicate or prevent our fulfilling
e-commerce
orders and, once some or all of our stores reopen, would complicate or prevent our ability to supply merchandise to our stores.
Further, quarantines,
shelter-in-place
and similar government orders, like the statewide order issued in California, or the perception that such orders, shutdowns or other restrictions on the conduct of business operations could occur, related to
COVID-19
or other infectious diseases, could also impact our vendors who manufacture or
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deliver our merchandise to us or our customers, which could adversely affect our ability to acquire and sell our merchandise, thus adversely affecting our results of operations, cash flows and liquidity.
While the extent of the economic impact of
COVID-19
and the duration of that impact may be difficult to assess or predict, the widespread pandemic has resulted in significant disruption of global financial markets, which has significantly impacted the value of our common stock and which may reduce our ability to access further capital, which could in the future negatively affect our liquidity. In addition, a recession or long-term market correction, resulting from the spread of
COVID-19
could in the future further materially impact the value of our common stock, impact our access to capital and affect our business in the near and long-term.
The global pandemic of
COVID-19
continues to rapidly evolve. The ultimate impact of the
COVID-19
pandemic or a similar health epidemic is highly uncertain and subject to change. The extent to which
COVID-19
impacts our results, financial position and liquidity will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the pandemic and the actions to contain
COVID-19
or treat its impact, among others. We are also uncertain the impact this pandemic will have on our overall liquidity levels or on future insurance costs, which may increase in the future in order to cover the costs insurance companies may incur related to this outbreak.
Declines in general economic conditions, and the resulting impact on consumer confidence and consumer spending, could adversely impact our results of operations.
Our financial performance is subject to declines in general economic conditions and the impact of such economic conditions on levels of consumer confidence and consumer spending. Consumer confidence and consumer spending may deteriorate significantly, and could remain depressed for an extended period of time. Consumer purchases of discretionary items, including our merchandise, generally decline during periods when disposable income is limited, unemployment rates increase or there is economic uncertainty. An uncertain economic environment could also cause our vendors to go out of business or our banks to discontinue lending to us or our vendors, or it could cause us to undergo restructurings, any of which would adversely impact our business and operating results.
We are unable to control many of the factors affecting consumer spending, and declines in consumer spending on home furnishings and kitchen products in general could reduce demand for our products.
Our business depends on consumer demand for our products and, consequently, is sensitive to a number of factors that influence consumer spending, including general economic conditions, consumer disposable income, fuel prices, recession and fears of recession, unemployment, war and fears of war, outbreaks of disease (such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak), adverse weather, availability of consumer credit, consumer debt levels, conditions in the housing market, interest rates, sales tax rates and rate increases, inflation, consumer confidence in future economic and political conditions, and consumer perceptions of personal well-being and security. In particular, past economic downturns have led to decreased discretionary spending, which adversely impacted our business. In addition, periods of decreased home purchases typically lead to decreased consumer spending on home products. These factors have affected, and may in the future affect, our various brands and channels differently. Adverse changes in factors affecting discretionary consumer spending have reduced and may in the future reduce consumer demand for our products, thus reducing our sales and harming our business and operating results.
We may require funding from external sources, which may not be available at the levels we require, or may cost more than we expect, and, as a consequence, our expenses and operating results could be negatively affected.
We regularly review and evaluate our liquidity and capital needs. While we have a growing balance of cash that is held offshore, we currently believe that our available cash, cash equivalents and cash flow from operations will be sufficient to finance our operations and expected capital requirements for at least the next 12 months unless our retail stores and distribution centers are closed for an extended period of time or we experience a material decline in revenue relating to the
COVID-19
outbreak. However, we might experience periods during which we encounter additional cash needs, and we might need additional external funding to support our operations.
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Although our credit facility provides for a $500,000,000 unsecured revolving line of credit and a $300,000,000 unsecured term loan facility, in the event we require additional liquidity from our lenders, such funds may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. In addition, in the event we were to breach any of our financial covenants, including as a result of the impact from the
COVID-19
outbreak, our banks would not be required to provide us with additional funding, or they may require us to renegotiate our existing credit facility on less favorable terms. In addition, we may not be able to renew our letters of credit that we use to help pay our suppliers, or our unsecured term loan facility, on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all, as the availability of credit facilities may become limited. Further, the providers of such credit may reallocate the available credit to other borrowers. To maximize our liquidity and increase our available cash on hand in the event of a protracted
COVID-19
outbreak, on March 23, 2020 we drew down $488,000,000 on our revolving line of credit, for an outstanding balance of $500,000,000. If we are unable to access additional credit at the levels we require, or the cost of credit is greater than expected, it could adversely affect our operating results.
If we are unable to identify and analyze factors affecting our business, anticipate changing consumer preferences and buying trends, and manage our inventory commensurate with customer demand, our sales levels and operating results may decline.
Our success depends, in large part, upon our ability to identify and analyze factors affecting our business and to anticipate and respond in a timely manner to changing merchandise trends and customer demands in order to maintain and attract customers. For example, in the specialty home products business, style and color trends are constantly evolving. As a result, consumer preferences cannot be predicted with certainty and may change between selling seasons. We must be able to stay current with preferences and trends in our brands and address the customer tastes for each of our target customer demographics. Additionally, changes in customer preferences and buying trends may also affect our brands differently. We must also be able to identify and adjust the customer offerings in our brands to cater to customer demands. For example, a change in customer preferences for children’s room furnishings may not correlate to a similar change in buying trends for other home furnishings. If we misjudge either the market for our merchandise or our customers’ purchasing habits, our sales may decline significantly or may be delayed while we work to fill related backorders. Alternatively, we may be required to mark down certain products to sell any excess inventory or to sell such inventory through our outlet stores or other liquidation channels at prices which are significantly lower than our retail prices, any of which would negatively impact our business and operating results.
In addition, we must manage our inventory effectively and commensurate with customer demand. Much of our inventory is sourced from vendors located outside of the U.S. Thus, we usually must order merchandise, and enter into contracts for the purchase and manufacturing of such merchandise, up to twelve months and generally multiple seasons in advance of the applicable selling season and frequently before trends are known. The extended lead times for many of our purchases may make it difficult for us to respond rapidly to new or changing trends. Our vendors also may not have the capacity to handle our demands or may go out of business or have other delays in production in times of economic crisis. In addition, the seasonal nature of the specialty home products business requires us to carry a significant amount of inventory prior to peak selling season. As a result, we are vulnerable to demand and pricing shifts and to misjudgments in the selection and timing of merchandise purchases. If we do not accurately predict our customers’ preferences and acceptance levels of our products, our inventory levels will not be appropriate, and our business and operating results may be negatively impacted.
There is also increased focus, including by governmental and
non-governmental
organizations, investors, customers, consumers and other stakeholders, on corporate social responsibility and sustainability matters. Our reputation could be damaged if we do not (or are perceived not to) act responsibly with respect to any social or sustainability matters, which could negatively impact our business and results of operations.
We may be exposed to cybersecurity risks and costs associated with credit card fraud, identity theft and business interruption that could cause us to incur unexpected expenses and loss of revenue.
A significant portion of our customer orders are placed through our
e-commerce
websites or through our customer care centers. In addition, a significant portion of sales made through our retail channel require the
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collection of certain customer data, such as credit card information. In order for our sales channels to function successfully, we, our banking and authorizations partners, and other parties involved in processing customer transactions must be able to transmit confidential information, including credit card information and other personal information of our customers, securely over public and private networks. Third parties may have or develop the technology or knowledge to breach, disable, disrupt or interfere with our systems or processes or those of our vendors. Although we take the security of our systems and the privacy of our customers’ confidential information seriously, and we believe we take reasonable steps to protect the security and confidentiality of the information we collect, we cannot guarantee that our security measures will effectively prevent others from obtaining unauthorized access to our information and our customers’ information. The techniques used to obtain unauthorized access to systems change frequently and are not often recognized until after they have been launched. Any person who circumvents our security measures could destroy or steal valuable information or disrupt our operations. Any security breach could cause consumers to lose confidence in the security of our information systems, including our
e-commerce
websites or stores, and choose not to purchase from us. Any security breach could also expose us to risks of data loss, litigation, regulatory investigations and other significant liabilities. Such a breach could also seriously disrupt, slow or hinder our operations and harm our reputation and customer relationships, any of which could harm our business. If we are the target of a cybersecurity attack resulting in unauthorized disclosure of our customer data, we may be required to undertake costly notification procedures. If we fail to implement appropriate safeguards, detect and provide prompt notice of unauthorized access as required by some data privacy laws, or otherwise comply with these laws, we could be subject to potential fines, claims for damages and other remedies, which could be significantly in excess of our insurance coverage and could harm our business.
We receive, process, store, use and share data, some of which contains personal information, which subjects us to complex and evolving governmental regulation and other legal obligations related to data privacy, data protection and other matters, which may have differing interpretations or are subject to change.
We receive, process, store, use and share data, some of which contains personal information. There are numerous federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations regarding matters central to our business, data privacy and the collection, storing, sharing, use, processing, disclosure and protection of personal information and other data from customers, employees and business partners, the scope of which are regularly changing, subject to uncertain and differing interpretations and may be inconsistent among countries or conflict with other rules.
As our business expands globally, we are subject to data privacy and other similar laws in various foreign jurisdictions, such as GDPR in the European Union. In addition, on January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the “CCPA”) became effective. The application and interpretation of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, and as the focus on data privacy and data protection increases globally and domestically, we are, and will continue to be, subject to varied and evolving data privacy and data protection laws. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission and many state attorneys general are interpreting federal and state consumer protection laws to impose standards for the online collection, use, dissemination and security of data. The burdens imposed by these and other laws and regulations that may be enacted, or new interpretations of existing laws and regulations, may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies and to incur substantial costs in order to comply. These laws and regulations may also impact our ability to expand advertising on our platform internationally, as they may impede our ability to deliver targeted advertising and accurately measure our ad performance.
Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with our privacy policies, data privacy-related obligations to customers or other third parties, or our data privacy-related legal obligations, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release or transfer of personally identifiable information or other user data, or other failure to comply with these laws and regulations, or regulatory scrutiny, may result in governmental enforcement actions or litigation that could expose our business to substantial financial penalties, or other monetary or
non-monetary
relief, negative publicity, loss of confidence in our brands, decline in customer growth or damage to our brands and reputation. The GDPR, CCPA and other such laws and regulations impose new and burdensome obligations, and include substantial uncertainty as to their interpretation, and we may face
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challenges in addressing their requirements, which could result in fines or penalties, lead us to change our data privacy policies and practices and limit our ability to deliver personalized advertising. Additionally, if third parties that we work with, such as advertisers, service providers or developers, violate applicable laws or our policies, these violations may also put customers’ information at risk, which could, in turn, have an adverse effect on our business, revenue and financial results.
If we are unable to effectively manage our
e-commerce
business and digital marketing efforts, our reputation and operating results may be harmed.
Our
e-commerce
channel has been our fastest growing business over the last several years and represents more than half of our sales and profits. The success of our
e-commerce
business depends, in part, on third parties and factors over which we have limited control. We must continually respond to changing consumer preferences and buying trends relating to
e-commerce
usage, including an emphasis on mobile
e-commerce.
Our success in
e-commerce
has been strengthened in part by our ability to leverage the information we have on our customers to infer customer interests and affinities such that we can personalize the experience they have with us. We also utilize digital advertising to target internet and mobile users whose behavior indicates they might be interested in our products. Current or future legislation may reduce or restrict our ability to use these techniques, which could reduce the effectiveness of our marketing efforts.
We are also vulnerable to certain additional risks and uncertainties associated with our
e-commerce
and mobile websites and digital marketing efforts, including: changes in required technology interfaces; website downtime and other technical failures; internet connectivity issues; costs and technical issues as we upgrade our website software; computer viruses; vendor reliability; changes in applicable federal and state regulations, such as the CCPA, and related compliance costs; security breaches; and consumer privacy concerns. We must keep up to date with competitive technology trends and opportunities that are emerging throughout the retail environment, including the use of new or improved technology, evolving creative user interfaces, and other
e-commerce
marketing trends such as paid search,
re-targeting,
loyalty programs and the proliferation of mobile usage, among others. While we endeavor to predict and invest in technology that is most relevant and beneficial to our company, such as our acquisition of Outward, Inc. in 2017, our initiatives may not prove to be successful, may increase our costs, or may not succeed in driving sales or attracting customers. Our failure to successfully respond to these risks and uncertainties might adversely affect the sales or margin in our
e-commerce
business, require us to impair certain assets, and damage our reputation and brands.
Our dependence on foreign vendors and our increased global operations subject us to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could impact our operations and financial results.
Approximately 65% of our merchandise purchases in fiscal 2019 were sourced from foreign vendors predominantly in Asia and Europe. Our dependence on foreign vendors means that we may be affected by changes in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to other foreign currencies. For example, any upward valuation in the Chinese yuan, the euro, or any other foreign currency against the U.S. dollar may result in higher costs to us for those goods. Although substantially all of our foreign purchases of merchandise are negotiated and paid for in U.S. dollars, declines in foreign currencies and currency exchange rates might negatively affect the profitability and business prospects of one or more of our foreign vendors. This, in turn, might cause such foreign vendors to demand higher prices for merchandise in their effort to offset any lost profits associated with any currency devaluation, delay merchandise shipments to us, or discontinue selling to us, any of which could ultimately reduce our sales or increase our costs. In addition, the rising cost of labor in the countries in which our foreign vendors operate has resulted in increases in our costs of doing business. Any further increases in the cost of living in such countries may result in additional increases in our costs or in our foreign vendors going out of business.
We, and our foreign vendors, are also subject to other risks and uncertainties associated with changing economic, political, social, health and environmental conditions and regulations within and outside of the U.S. These risks and uncertainties include import duties and quotas, compliance with anti-dumping regulations, work stoppages, economic uncertainties and adverse economic conditions (including inflation and recession), government
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regulations, trade restrictions, regulations to address climate change, employment and labor matters, wars and fears of war, political unrest, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, adverse weather, climate change, outbreaks of disease (such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak), and other unexpected events. We cannot predict whether any of the countries from which our raw materials or products are sourced, or in which our products are currently manufactured or may be manufactured in the future, will be subject to trade restrictions imposed by the U.S. or foreign governments, such as the tariffs levied by the U.S. against China, or the likelihood, type or effect of any such restrictions. Any event causing a disruption or delay of imports from foreign vendors, including labor disputes resulting in work disruption, the imposition of additional import restrictions, restrictions on the transfer of funds and/or increased tariffs or quotas, war, political unrest, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, adverse weather, climate change, outbreaks of disease or other unexpected events, could increase the cost, reduce the supply of merchandise available to us, or result in excess inventory if merchandise is received after the planned or appropriate selling season, all of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. Furthermore, some or all of our foreign vendors’ operations may be adversely affected by political and financial instability resulting in the disruption of trade from exporting countries, restrictions on the transfer of funds and/or increased tariffs or quotas, war, political unrest, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, adverse weather, climate change, outbreaks of disease or other trade disruptions. For example, the recent
COVID-19
outbreak has the potential to significantly impact our supply chain if the factories that manufacture our merchandise are temporarily closed or experience worker shortages or if international shipping is impacted. In addition, an economic downturn, or failure of foreign markets, may result in financial instabilities for our foreign vendors, which may cause our foreign vendors to decrease production, discontinue selling to us, or cease operations altogether. Our global operations in Asia, Australia and Europe could also be affected by changing economic and political conditions in foreign countries, such as Brexit, which could have a negative effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
Although we continue to be focused on improving our global compliance program, there remains a risk that one or more of our foreign vendors will not adhere to our global compliance standards, such as fair labor standards and the prohibition of child labor.
Non-governmental
organizations might attempt to create an unfavorable impression of our sourcing practices or the practices of some of our foreign vendors that could harm our image. If either of these events occurs, we could lose customer goodwill and favorable brand recognition, which could negatively affect our business and operating results.
We depend on foreign vendors and third-party agents for timely and effective sourcing of our merchandise, and we may not be able to acquire products in sufficient quantities and at acceptable prices to meet our needs, which would impact our operations and financial results.
Our performance depends, in part, on our ability to purchase our merchandise in sufficient quantities at competitive prices. We purchase our merchandise from numerous foreign and domestic manufacturers and importers. We generally have no contractual assurances of continued supply, pricing or access to new products, and any vendor could change the terms upon which it sells to us, discontinue selling to us, or go out of business at any time. We may not be able to acquire desired merchandise in sufficient quantities on terms acceptable to us. Better than expected sales demand may also lead to customer backorders and lower
in-stock
positions of our merchandise, which could negatively affect our business and operating results. In addition, our vendors may have difficulty adjusting to our changing demands and growing business.
Any inability to acquire suitable merchandise on acceptable terms or the loss of one or more of our foreign vendors or third-party agents could have a negative effect on our business and operating results because we would be missing products that we felt were important to our assortment, unless and until alternative supply arrangements are secured. We may not be able to develop relationships with new vendors or third-party agents, and products from alternative sources, if any, may be of a lesser quality and/or more expensive than those we currently purchase. In addition, we are subject to certain risks that could limit our vendors’ ability to provide us with quality merchandise on a timely basis and at prices that are commercially acceptable to us, including risks related to the availability of raw materials, labor disputes, work disruptions or stoppages, union organizing activities, vendor financial liquidity, adverse weather, natural disasters, political unrest, war, acts of terrorism,
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outbreaks of disease (such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak), general economic and political conditions and regulations to address climate change. For example, if our vendors suffer prolonged work disruptions or stoppages, or transportation or other restrictions, due to public health conditions such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak, or other unforeseen events, our ability to acquire merchandise could be adversely impacted, which would adversely affect our results of operations.
If our vendors fail to adhere to our quality control standards and test protocols, we may delay a product launch or recall a product, which could damage our reputation and negatively affect our operations and financial results.
Our vendors might not adhere to our quality control standards, and we might not identify the deficiency before merchandise ships to our stores or customers. Our vendors’ failure to manufacture or import quality merchandise in a timely and effective manner could damage our reputation and brands, and could lead to an increase in customer complaints and litigation against us and an increase in our routine insurance and litigation costs. Further, any merchandise that we receive, even if it meets our quality standards, could become subject to a recall, which could damage our reputation and brands, and harm our business. Additionally, changes to the legislative or regulatory framework regarding product safety or quality may subject companies like ours to more product recalls and result in higher recall-related expenses. Any recalls or other safety issues could harm our brands’ images and negatively affect our business and operating results.
Our efforts to expand globally may not be successful and could negatively impact the value of our brands.
We are currently growing our business and increasing our global presence by opening new stores outside of the U.S., expanding our franchise and
shop-in-shop
operations, and offering shipping globally through third-party vendors. Since 2013, as part of our overall global expansion strategy, we have operated company-owned retail stores and
e-commerce
websites outside of North America. While our global expansion to date has been a small part of our business, we plan to continue to increase the number of stores we open both directly and through our franchise and
shop-in-shop
arrangements. We have limited experience with global sales, understanding consumer preferences and anticipating buying trends in different countries, and marketing to customers overseas. Moreover, global awareness of our brands and our products may not be high. Consequently, we may not be able to successfully compete with established brands in these markets and our global sales may not result in the revenues we anticipate. Additionally, global economic or political instability, work disruptions or stoppages, or outbreaks of diseases, such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak, may delay or harm our efforts to expand globally. Also, our products may not be accepted, either due to foreign legal requirements or due to different consumer tastes and trends. If our global growth initiatives are not successful, or if we or any of our third-party vendors fail to comply with any applicable regulations or laws, we may be forced to close stores or cease operations in certain countries, which may result in significant financial harm, diminish the value of our brands and negatively affect our future opportunities for global growth. Further, the administration of our global expansion may divert management attention and require more resources than we expect.
In addition, we are exposed to foreign currency exchange rate risk with respect to our operations denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Our retail stores in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, and our operations throughout Asia and Europe expose us to market risk associated with foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Although we use instruments to hedge certain foreign currency risks, such hedges may not succeed in offsetting all of the impact of foreign currency rate volatility and generally only delay such impact on our business and financial results. Further, because we do not hedge against all of our foreign currency exposure, our business will continue to be susceptible to foreign currency fluctuations. Our ultimate realized gain or loss with respect to currency fluctuations will generally depend on the size and type of the transactions that we enter into, the currency exchange rates associated with these exposures, changes in those rates and whether we have entered into foreign currency hedge contracts to offset these exposures. All of these factors could materially impact our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
We have unaffiliated franchisees that operate stores in the Middle East, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea, as well as
e-commerce
 websites in certain locations. Under these agreements, our franchisees operate
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stores and/or
e-commerce
websites that sell goods purchased from us under our brand names. We continue to expand our franchise operations with our existing franchisees as well as seek to identify new franchise partnerships for select countries. The effect of these franchise arrangements on our business and results of operations is uncertain and will depend upon various factors, including the demand for our products in new global markets. In addition, certain aspects of our franchise arrangements are not directly within our control, such as the ability of each franchisee to meet its projections regarding store openings and sales, and the impact of exchange rate fluctuations on their business. Moreover, while the agreements we have entered into may provide us with certain termination rights, to the extent that our franchisees do not operate their stores in a manner consistent with our requirements regarding our brand identities and customer experience standards, the reputation and value of our brands could be impaired. In addition, in connection with these franchise arrangements, we have and will continue to implement certain new processes that may subject us to additional regulations and laws, such as U.S. export regulations. Failure to comply with any applicable regulations or laws could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
We have limited experience operating on a global basis and our failure to effectively manage the risks and challenges inherent in a global business could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition and growth prospects.
We operate several retail businesses, subsidiaries and branch offices throughout Asia, Australia and Europe, which includes managing overseas employees, and may expand these overseas operations in the future. We have limited experience operating overseas subsidiaries and managing
non-U.S.
employees and, as a result, may encounter cultural challenges with local practices and customs that may result in harm to our reputation and the value of our brands. Our global presence exposes us to the laws and regulations of these jurisdictions, including those related to marketing, privacy, data protection, employment and product safety and testing. We may be unable to keep current with government requirements as they change from time to time. Our failure to comply with such laws and regulations may harm our reputation, adversely affect our future opportunities for growth and expansion in these countries, and harm our business and operating results.
Moreover, our global operations subject us to a variety of risks and challenges, including:
  increased management, infrastructure and legal compliance costs, including the cost of real estate and labor in those markets;
 
 
  increased financial accounting and reporting requirements and complexities;
 
 
  increased operational and tax complexities, including managing our inventory globally;
 
 
  the diversion of management attention away from our core business;
 
 
  general economic conditions, changes in diplomatic and trade relationships, including the imposition of new or increased tariffs, political and social instability, war and acts of terrorism, outbreaks of diseases (such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak) and natural disasters in each country or region;
 
 
  economic uncertainty around the world;
 
 
  compliance with foreign laws and regulations and the risks and costs of
non-compliance
with such laws and regulations;
 
 
  compliance with U.S. laws and regulations for foreign operations;
 
 
  dependence on certain third parties, including vendors and other service providers, with whom we do not have extensive experience;
 
 
  fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates and the related effect on our financial results, and the use of foreign exchange hedging programs to mitigate such risks;
 
 
  growing cash balances in foreign jurisdictions which may be subject to repatriation restrictions;
 
 
  reduced or varied protection for intellectual property rights in some countries and practical difficulties of enforcing such rights abroad; and
 
 
  compliance with the laws of foreign taxing jurisdictions and the overlapping of different tax regimes.
 
 
Any of these risks could adversely affect our global operations, reduce our revenues or increase our operating costs, which in turn could adversely affect our business, operating results, financial condition and growth
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prospects. Some of our vendors and our franchisees also have global operations and are subject to the risks described above. Even if we are able to successfully manage the risks of our global operations, our business may be adversely affected if our vendors and franchisees are not able to successfully manage these risks.
In addition, as we continue to expand our global operations, we are subject to certain U.S. laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in addition to the laws of the foreign countries in which we operate. We must ensure that our employees and third-party agents comply with these laws. If any of our overseas operations, or our employees or third-party agents, violates such laws, we could become subject to sanctions or other penalties that could negatively affect our reputation, business and operating results.
A number of factors that affect our ability to successfully open new stores or close existing stores are beyond our control, and these factors may harm our ability to expand or contract our retail operations and harm our ability to increase our sales and profits.
As noted above, approximately 44% of our net revenues are generated by our retail stores. Our ability to open additional stores or close existing stores successfully will depend upon a number of factors, including:
  general economic conditions;
 
 
  our identification of, and the availability of, suitable store locations;
 
 
  our success in negotiating new leases and amending, subleasing or terminating existing leases on acceptable terms;
 
 
  the success of other retail stores in and around our retail locations;
 
 
  our ability to secure required governmental permits and approvals;
 
 
  our hiring and training of skilled store operating personnel, especially management;
 
 
  the availability of financing on acceptable terms, if at all; and
 
 
  the financial stability of our landlords and potential landlords.
 
 
Many of these factors are beyond our control. For example, for the purpose of identifying suitable store locations, we rely, in part, on demographic surveys regarding the location of consumers in our target market segments. While we believe that the surveys and other relevant information are helpful indicators of suitable store locations, we recognize that these information sources cannot predict future consumer preferences and buying trends with complete accuracy. In addition, changes in demographics, in consumer shopping patterns, such as a reduction in mall traffic, in the types of merchandise that we sell and in the pricing of our products, may reduce the number of suitable store locations or cause formerly suitable locations to become less desirable. Further, time frames for lease negotiations and store development vary from location to location and can be subject to unforeseen delays or unexpected cancellations. We may not be able to open new stores or, if opened, operate those stores profitably. Construction and other delays in store openings could have a negative impact on our business and operating results. Additionally, we may not be able to renegotiate the terms of our current leases or close our underperforming stores on terms favorable to us, any of which could negatively impact our operating results.
Our sales may be negatively impacted by increasing competition from companies with brands or products similar to ours.
The specialty
e-commerce
and retail businesses are highly competitive. We compete with other retailers that market lines of merchandise similar to ours. We compete with national, regional and local businesses that utilize a similar retail store strategy, as well as traditional furniture stores, department stores,
direct-to-consumer
businesses and specialty stores. The substantial sales growth in the
e-commerce
industry within the last decade has encouraged the entry of many new competitors, including discount retailers selling similar products at reduced prices, new business models, and an increase in competition from established companies, many of whom are willing to spend significant funds and/or reduce pricing in order to gain market share.
The competitive challenges facing us include:
  anticipating and quickly responding to changing consumer demands or preferences better than our competitors;
 
 
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  maintaining favorable brand recognition and achieving customer perception of value;
 
 
  effectively marketing and competitively pricing our products to consumers in several diverse market segments;
 
 
  effectively managing and controlling our costs;
 
 
  effectively managing increasingly competitive promotional activity;
 
 
  effectively attracting new customers;
 
 
  developing new innovative shopping experiences, like mobile and tablet applications that effectively engage today’s digital customers;
 
 
  developing innovative, high-quality products in colors and styles that appeal to consumers of varying age groups, tastes and regions, and in ways that favorably distinguish us from our competitors; and
 
 
  effectively managing our supply chain and distribution strategies in order to provide our products to our consumers on a timely basis and minimize returns, replacements and damaged products.
 
 
In light of the many competitive challenges facing us, we may not be able to compete successfully. Increased competition could reduce our sales and harm our operating results and business.
Our business and operating results may be harmed if we are unable to timely and effectively deliver merchandise to our stores and customers.
If we are unable to effectively manage our inventory levels and responsiveness of our supply chain, including predicting the appropriate levels and type of inventory to stock within each of our distribution facilities, our business and operating results may be harmed. We continue to insource furniture delivery hubs in certain geographies and continue with the regionalization of our retail and
e-commerce
fulfillment capabilities. We are subject to risks that may disrupt our supply chain operations or regionalization efforts, such as increasing labor costs, union organizing activity and our ability to effectively locate real estate for our distribution facilities or other supply chain operations.
Further, we cannot control all of the various factors that might affect our
e-commerce
fulfillment rates and timely and effective merchandise delivery to our stores. We rely upon third-party carriers for our merchandise shipments and reliable data regarding the timing of those shipments, including shipments to our customers and to and from our stores. In addition, we are heavily dependent upon two carriers for the delivery of our merchandise to our customers. As a result of our dependence on all of these third-party providers, we are subject to risks, including labor disputes (such as the disruptions at the U.S. West Coast ports in early 2015), union organizing activity, adverse weather, natural disasters, climate change, the closure of such carriers’ offices or a reduction in operational hours due to an economic slowdown or the inability to sufficiently ramp up operational hours during an economic recovery or upturn, availability of adequate trucking or railway providers, possible acts of terrorism, outbreaks of disease (such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak) or other factors affecting such carriers’ ability to provide delivery services to meet our shipping needs, disruptions or increased fuel costs and costs associated with any regulations to address climate change. For example, if our third-party providers suffer prolonged transportation disruptions or restrictions due to public health conditions, such as the current
COVID-19
outbreak, or other unforeseen events, our ability to timely deliver merchandise could be adversely impacted. Failure to deliver merchandise in a timely and effective manner could damage our reputation and brands. In addition, fuel costs have been volatile and airline and other transportation companies continue to struggle to operate profitably, which could lead to increased fulfillment expenses. Any rise in fulfillment expenses could negatively affect our business and operating results.
Our failure to successfully manage our order-taking and fulfillment operations could have a negative impact on our business and operating results.
Our
e-commerce
business depends, in part, on our ability to maintain efficient and uninterrupted order-taking and fulfillment operations in our distribution facilities, our customer care centers and on our
e-commerce
websites. Disruptions or slowdowns in these areas could result from disruptions in telephone or network services, power outages, inadequate system capacity, system hardware or software issues, computer viruses, security breaches, human error, changes in programming, union organizing activity, insufficient or inadequate labor to fulfill the
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orders, disruptions in our third-party labor contracts, inefficiencies due to inventory levels and limited distribution facility space, issues with third-party order fulfillment and drop shipping, natural disasters, adverse weather conditions outbreaks of disease (such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak) or acts of terrorism. Industries that are particularly seasonal, such as the home furnishings business, face a higher risk of harm from operational disruptions during peak sales seasons. These problems could result in a reduction in sales as well as increased expenses.
In addition, we face the risk that we cannot hire enough qualified employees to support our
e-commerce
operations, or that there will be a disruption in the workforce we hire from our third-party providers, especially during our peak season. The need to operate with fewer employees could negatively impact our customer service levels and our operations.
Our facilities and systems, as well as those of our vendors, are vulnerable to natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, technology issues and other unexpected events, any of which could result in an interruption in our business and harm our operating results.
Our retail stores, corporate offices, distribution and manufacturing facilities, infrastructure and
e-commerce
operations, as well as the operations of our vendors from which we receive goods and services, are vulnerable to damage from earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods or other volatile weather, power losses, telecommunications failures, hardware and software failures, computer viruses and similar events. If any of these events result in damage to our facilities or systems, or those of our vendors, we may experience interruptions in our business until the damage is repaired, resulting in the potential loss of customers and revenues. In addition, we may incur costs in repairing any damage beyond our applicable insurance coverage.
Our failure to successfully manage the costs and performance of our catalog mailings might have a negative impact on our business.
Catalog mailings are an important component of our business. Postal rate increases affect the cost of our catalog mailings. We rely on discounts from the basic postal rate structure, which could be changed or discontinued at any time. Further, the U.S. Postal Service may raise rates in the future, which could negatively impact our business. The cost of paper, printing and catalog distribution also impacts our catalog business. We have consolidated all of our catalog printing work with one printer. Our dependence on one vendor subjects us to various risks if the vendor fails to perform under our agreement. Paper costs have also fluctuated significantly in the past and may continue to fluctuate in the future. We have also recently consolidated all of our paper purchasing through a single broker. Consolidation within the paper industry has reduced the number of potential suppliers capable of meeting our paper requirements, leading to increased costs. Our dependence on a single broker and/or further consolidation in the paper industry could limit our ability in the future to obtain favorable terms including price, custom paper quality, paper quantity and service. Future increases in postal rates, paper costs or printing costs could have a negative impact on our operating results to the extent that we are unable to offset such increases by raising prices, implementing more efficient printing, mailing, delivery and order fulfillment systems, or through the use of alternative direct-mail formats. In addition, if the performance of our catalogs declines, if we misjudge the correlation between our catalog circulation and net sales, or if our catalog strategy overall does not continue to be successful, our results of operations could be negatively impacted.
We have historically experienced fluctuations in our customers’ response to our catalogs. Customer response to our catalogs is substantially dependent on merchandise assortment, merchandise availability and creative presentation, as well as the selection of customers to whom the catalogs are mailed, changes in mailing strategies, the size of our mailings, timing of delivery of our mailings, as well as the general retail sales environment and current domestic and global economic conditions. In addition, environmental organizations and other consumer advocacy groups may attempt to create an unfavorable impression of our paper use in catalogs and our distribution of catalogs generally, which may have a negative effect on our sales and our reputation. Further, we depend upon external vendors to print and mail our catalogs. The failure to effectively produce or distribute our catalogs could affect the timing of catalog delivery. The timing of catalog delivery has been and can be affected by postal service delays and may be impacted in the future by changes in the services provided by the post office. Any delays in the timing of catalog delivery could cause customers to forego or defer purchases, negatively impacting our business and operating results.
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Declines in our comparable brand revenues may harm our operating results and cause a decline in the market price of our common stock.
Various factors affect comparable brand revenues, including the number, size and location of stores we open, close, remodel or expand in any period, the overall economic and general retail sales environment, consumer preferences and buying trends, changes in sales mix among distribution channels, our ability to efficiently source and distribute products, changes in our merchandise mix, competition (including competitive promotional activity and discount retailers), current local and global economic conditions, the timing of our releases of new merchandise and promotional events, the success of marketing programs, the cannibalization of existing store sales by our new stores, changes in catalog circulation and in our
e-commerce
business and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. Among other things, weather conditions have affected, and may continue to affect, comparable brand revenues by limiting our ability to deliver our products to our stores, altering consumer behavior, or requiring us to close certain stores temporarily, thus reducing store traffic. Even if stores are not closed, many customers may decide to avoid going to stores in bad weather. These factors have caused, and may continue to cause, our comparable brand revenue results to differ materially from prior periods and from earnings guidance we have provided. For example, the overall economic and general retail sales environment, as well as local and global economic conditions, has caused a significant decline in our comparable brand revenue results in the past. In addition, public health conditions, such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak, or other unforeseen events, could affect our ability to deliver our products to our stores, alter consumer behavior, or require us to close certain stores temporarily, such as our recent announcement to temporarily close all of our U.S. and Canadian retail stores through April 2, 2020, thus reducing store traffic and materially impacting our comparable brand revenues.
Our comparable brand revenues have fluctuated significantly in the past on an annual, quarterly and monthly basis, and we expect that comparable brand revenues will continue to fluctuate in the future. In addition, past comparable brand revenues are not necessarily an indication of future results and comparable brand revenues may decrease in the future. Our ability to improve our comparable brand revenue results depends, in large part, on maintaining and improving our forecasting of customer demand and buying trends, selecting effective marketing techniques, effectively driving traffic to our stores,
e-commerce
websites and direct-mail catalogs through marketing and various promotional events, providing an appropriate mix of merchandise for our broad and diverse customer base and using effective pricing strategies. Any failure to meet the comparable brand revenue expectations of investors and securities analysts in one or more future periods could significantly reduce the market price of our common stock.
Our failure to successfully anticipate merchandise returns might have a negative impact on our business.
We record a reserve for merchandise returns based on historical return trends together with current product sales performance in each reporting period. If actual returns are greater than those projected and reserved for by management, additional sales returns might be recorded in the future. In addition, to the extent that returned merchandise is damaged, we often do not receive full retail value from the resale or liquidation of the merchandise. Further, the introduction of new merchandise, changes in merchandise mix, changes in consumer confidence, or other competitive and general economic conditions may cause actual returns to differ from merchandise return reserves. Any significant increase in merchandise returns that exceeds our reserves could harm our business and operating results.
If we are unable to successfully manage the complexities associated with an omni-channel and multi-brand business, we may suffer declines in our existing business and our ability to attract new business.
With the expansion of our
e-commerce
business, the development of new brands, acquired brands, and brand extensions, our overall business has become substantially more complex. The changes in our business have forced us to develop new expertise and face new challenges, risks and uncertainties. For example, we face the risk that our
e-commerce
business, including our catalog circulation, might cannibalize a significant portion of our retail sales or our newer brands, brand extensions and products may result in a decrease in sales of existing brands and products. While we recognize that our
e-commerce
sales and sales from new brands and products
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cannot be entirely incremental to sales through our retail channel or from existing brands and products, respectively, we seek to attract as many new customers as possible with the most relevant channels, brands and products to meet customer needs and grow our market share. We continually analyze the business results of our channels, brands and products in an effort to find opportunities to build incremental sales.
If we are unable to introduce new brands and brand extensions successfully, or to reposition or close existing brands, our business and operating results may be negatively impacted.
We have in the past and may in the future introduce new brands and brand extensions, reposition brands, close existing brands, or acquire new brands, especially as we continue to expand globally. Our newest brands and brand extensions — Williams Sonoma Home and Mark and Graham, and any other new brands, as well as our acquired brand, Rejuvenation, as well as our expansion into new lines of business, including Outward, our new business to business division, which targets commercial businesses across a number of verticals, including commercial furniture and hospitality, our planned subscription-based services, and new businesses within Pottery Barn (Marketplace and Pottery Barn Apartment) may not grow as expected. The work involved with integrating new brands or businesses into our existing systems and operations could be time consuming, require significant amounts of management time and result in the diversion of substantial operational resources. Further, if we devote time and resources to new brands, acquired brands, brand extensions, brand repositioning, or new lines of business and those businesses are not as successful as we planned, then we risk damaging our overall business results or incurring impairment charges to write off any existing goodwill or intangible assets associated with previously acquired brands. As a result, we may not be able to introduce new brands in a manner that improves our overall business and/or operating results and may therefore be forced to close the brands or new lines of business, which may damage our reputation and/or negatively impact our operating results.
We must protect and maintain our brand image and reputation.
Our brands have wide recognition, and our success has been due in large part to our ability to maintain, enhance and protect our brand image and reputation and our customers’ connection to our brands. Our continued success depends in part on our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing media environment, including our increasing reliance on social media and online dissemination of advertising campaigns. Even if we react appropriately to negative posts or comments about us and/or our brands on social media and online, our customers’ perception of our brand image and our reputation could be negatively impacted. In addition, customer sentiment could be shaped by our sustainability policies and related design, sourcing and operations decisions. Failure to maintain, enhance and protect our brand image could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
Any significant changes in tax, trade or other policies in the U.S. or other countries, including policies that restrict imports or increase import tariffs, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
A significant portion of our products are manufactured outside of the U.S. While the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”), enacted on December 22, 2017, has not had an adverse effect on our results of operations and is not expected to have an adverse effect on our results of operations going forward, significant changes in tax, trade or other polices either in the U.S. or other countries could materially increase our tax burden or costs of goods sold. These changes in policies may also require us to increase our prices, which could adversely affect our sales.
Tariffs could result in increased prices and/or costs of goods or delays in product received from our vendors and could adversely affect our results of operations.
The U.S. administration has enacted certain tariffs and proposed additional tariffs on many items sourced from China, including certain furniture, accessories, furniture parts, and raw materials for domestic furniture manufacturing products imported into the U.S. While we are executing against an aggressive tariff mitigation plan which includes cost reductions from vendors, moving production out of China to South East Asia and to the United States, cost savings in other areas of the business, as well as select price increases, we may not be able to fully or substantially mitigate the impact of these tariffs, pass price increases on to our customers, or secure
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adequate alternative sources of products or materials. The tariffs, along with any additional tariffs or retaliatory trade restrictions implemented by other countries, could adversely affect customer sales, including potential delays in product received from our vendors, our cost of goods sold and results of operations.
Fluctuations in our tax obligations and effective tax rate may result in volatility of our operating results.
We are subject to income taxes in many U.S. and certain foreign jurisdictions. Our provision for income taxes is subject to volatility and could be adversely impacted by a number of factors that require significant judgment and estimation. Although we believe our estimates are reasonable, actual results may differ materially from our estimates and adversely affect our financial condition or operating results. We record income tax expense based on our estimates of future payments, which include reserves for our estimates of the additional income tax liability that is more likely than not to result from the ultimate resolution of foreign and domestic tax examinations. At any one time, many tax years are subject to examination by various taxing jurisdictions. The results of these audits and negotiations with taxing authorities may affect the ultimate settlement of these issues. As a result, we expect that throughout the year there could be ongoing variability in our quarterly and annual effective tax rates as taxable events occur and uncertain tax positions are either evaluated or resolved. In addition, our effective tax rate in a given financial statement period may be materially impacted by changes in the mix and level of earnings or losses in countries with differing statutory tax rates or by changes to existing laws or regulations. For example, the Tax Act has not had an adverse effect on our results of operations and is not expected to have an adverse effect on our results of operations going forward, but it has had a material impact our effective tax rate.
Our inability to obtain commercial insurance at acceptable rates or our failure to adequately reserve for self-insured exposures might increase our expenses and have a negative impact on our business.
We believe that commercial insurance coverage is prudent in certain areas of our business for risk management. Insurance costs may increase substantially in the future and may be affected by natural disasters, outbreaks of disease (such as the recent
COVID-19
outbreak), climate change, fear of terrorism, financial irregularities, cybersecurity breaches and other fraud at publicly-traded companies, intervention by the government, an increase in the number of claims received by the carriers, and a decrease in the number of insurance carriers. In addition, the carriers with which we hold our policies may go out of business or be otherwise unable to fulfill their contractual obligations, or may disagree with our interpretation of the coverage or the amounts owed. In addition, for certain types or levels of risk, such as risks associated with certain natural disasters or terrorist attacks, we may determine that we cannot obtain commercial insurance at acceptable rates, if at all. Therefore, we may choose to forego or limit our purchase of relevant commercial insurance, choosing instead to self-insure one or more types or levels of risks. We are primarily self-insured for workers’ compensation, employment practices liability, employee health benefits, product and other general liability claims, among others. If we suffer a substantial loss that is not covered by commercial insurance or our self-insurance reserves, the loss and related expenses could harm our business and operating results. In addition, exposures exist for which no insurance may be available and for which we have not reserved.
Our inability or failure to protect our intellectual property would have a negative impact on our brands, reputation and operating results.
We may not be able to effectively protect our intellectual property in the U.S. or in foreign jurisdictions, particularly as we continue to expand globally. Our trademarks, service marks, copyrights, trade dress rights, trade secrets, domain names, patents, designs, proprietary technology and other intellectual property are valuable assets that are critical to our success. The unauthorized reproduction, theft or other misappropriation of our intellectual property could diminish the value of our brands or reputation and cause a decline in our sales. Protection of our intellectual property and maintenance of distinct branding are particularly important as they distinguish our products and services from our competitors. In addition, the costs of protecting and policing our intellectual property assets may adversely affect our operating results.
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We may be subject to legal proceedings that could result in costly litigation, require significant amounts of management time and result in the diversion of significant operational resources.
We are involved in lawsuits, claims and proceedings incident to the ordinary course of our business. Litigation is inherently unpredictable. Any claims against us, whether meritorious or not, could result in costly litigation, require significant amounts of management time and result in the diversion of significant operational resources. There has been a rise in the number of lawsuits against companies like us regarding consumer protection, false advertising, data breach, and
e-commerce-related
patent infringement. From time to time, we have been subject to these types of lawsuits and are currently the subject of some of these types of lawsuits. The cost of defending against these types of claims or the ultimate resolution of any such claims against us, whether by settlement or adverse court decision, may harm our business and operating results. In addition, the increasingly regulated business environment may result in a greater number of enforcement actions by government agencies and private litigation. This could subject us to increased exposure to stockholder lawsuits. Additionally, in recent years there has been an increase in the number of employment claims and, in particular, discrimination and harassment claims. Coupled with the expansion of social media platforms and similar devices that allow individuals access to a broad audience, these claims have had a significant negative impact on some businesses. Certain companies that have faced employment- or harassment-related lawsuits have had to terminate management or other key personnel, and have suffered reputational harm that has negatively impacted their business.
Our operating results may be harmed by unsuccessful management of our employment, occupancy and other operating costs, and the operation and growth of our business may be harmed if we are unable to attract qualified personnel.
To be successful, we need to manage our operating costs and continue to look for opportunities to reduce costs. We recognize that we may need to increase the number of our employees, especially during holiday selling seasons, and incur other expenses to support new brands and brand extensions and the growth of our existing brands, including the opening of new stores. In addition, the market for prime real estate is competitive, especially in San Francisco where our corporate offices are headquartered. If we are unable to make substantial adjustments to our cost structure during times of uncertainty, such as an economic downturn or during times of expansion, we may incur unnecessary expense or we may have inadequate resources to properly run our business, and our business and operating results may be negatively impacted. From time to time, we may also experience union organizing activity in currently
non-union
facilities, including in our stores and distribution facilities. Union organizing activity may result in work slowdowns or stoppages and higher labor costs. In addition, there appears to be a growing number of
wage-and-hour
lawsuits and other employment-related lawsuits against retail companies, especially in California. State, federal and global laws and regulations regarding employment change frequently and the ultimate cost of compliance cannot be precisely estimated. Further, there have been and may continue to be increases in minimum wage and health care requirements. Any changes in regulations, the imposition of additional regulations, or the enactment of any new or more stringent legislation that impacts employment and labor, trade, or health care, could have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
We contract with various agencies to provide us with qualified personnel for our workforce. Any negative publicity regarding these agencies, such as in connection with immigration issues or employment practices, could damage our reputation, disrupt our ability to obtain needed labor or result in financial harm to our business, including the potential loss of business-related financial incentives in the jurisdictions where we operate. Although we strive to secure long-term contracts on favorable terms with our service providers and other vendors, we may not be able to avoid unexpected operating cost increases in the future, such as those associated with minimum wage increases, enhanced health care requirements and benefits, or increases in insurance premiums. Further, we incur substantial costs to warehouse and distribute our inventory. We continue to insource furniture delivery hubs in certain geographies and continue to regionalize our retail and
e-commerce
fulfillment capabilities. Significant increases in our inventory levels may result in increased warehousing and distribution costs, such as costs related to additional distribution facilities, which we may not be able to lease on acceptable terms, if at all. Such increases in inventory levels may also lead to increases in costs associated with inventory
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that is lost, damaged or aged. Higher than expected costs, particularly if coupled with lower than expected sales, would negatively impact our business and operating results. In addition, in times of economic uncertainty, these long-term contracts may make it difficult to quickly reduce our fixed operating costs, which could negatively impact our business and operating results.
We are undertaking certain systems changes that might disrupt our business operations.
Our success depends, in part, on our ability to source, sell and distribute merchandise efficiently through appropriate systems and procedures. We are in the process of substantially modifying our information technology systems, which involves updating or replacing legacy systems with successor systems over the course of several years. There are inherent risks associated with replacing our core systems, including supply chain and merchandising systems disruptions, that could affect our ability to get the correct products into the appropriate stores and delivered to customers. We may not successfully launch these new systems, or the launch of such systems may result in disruptions to our business operations. In addition, changes to any of our software implementation strategies could result in the impairment of software-related assets. We are also subject to the risks associated with the ability of our vendors to provide information technology solutions to meet our needs. Any disruptions could negatively impact our business and operating results.
In addition, we are in the process of replacing our core financial reporting and human capital management systems with new enterprise resource planning systems to standardize our processes worldwide and adopt
best-in-class
capabilities. During our implementations, and as we utilize the systems going forward, we may experience periodic or prolonged disruption of our core financial and human capital operations, including our ability to complete our financial close and provide accurate financial reporting on a timely basis, and maintain our internal control compliance efforts. We may also experience errors in data and security or technical reliability issues. In order to realize the benefits of our systems, we may be required to change certain business and financial processes, which involves the risk of disruption to our operations or data errors. In addition, we are heavily reliant on third-party vendors for access to our systems and the accuracy of the functionality within the systems. If we encounter implementation or usage problems with these new systems or other related systems and infrastructure, or if the systems do not operate as intended, do not give rise to anticipated benefits, or fail to integrate properly with our other systems or software platforms, then our business, results of operations, and internal controls over financial reporting may be adversely affected.
We outsource certain aspects of our business to third-party vendors and are in the process of insourcing certain business functions from third-party vendors, both of which subject us to risks, including disruptions in our business and increased costs.
We outsource certain aspects of our business to third-party vendors that subject us to risks of disruptions in our business as well as increased costs. For example, we utilize outside vendors for such things as payroll processing, email and other digital marketing and various distribution facilities and delivery services. In some cases, we rely on a single vendor for such services. Accordingly, we are subject to the risks associated with their ability to successfully provide the necessary services to meet our needs. If our vendors are unable to adequately protect our data and information is lost, our ability to deliver our services is interrupted, our vendors’ fees are higher than expected, or our vendors make mistakes in the execution of operations support, then our business and operating results may be negatively impacted.
In addition, we are in the process of insourcing certain aspects of our business, including certain technology services and the management of certain furniture manufacturing and delivery, and have recently completed the insourcing of the management of our global vendors, each of which were previously outsourced to third-party providers. We may also need to continue to insource other aspects of our business in the future in order to control our costs and to stay competitive. This may cause disruptions in our business and result in increased cost to us. In addition, if we are unable to perform these functions better than, or at least as well as, our third-party providers, our business may be harmed.
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If our operating and financial performance in any given period does not meet the guidance that we have provided to the public or the expectations of our investors and analysts, our stock price may decline.
We provide public guidance on our expected operating and financial results for future periods on an annual basis only, as we believe this approach is better aligned with the long-term view we take in managing our business and our focus on long-term stockholder value creation. Although we believe that this guidance provides investors and analysts with a better understanding of management’s expectations for the future and is useful to our stockholders and potential stockholders, such guidance is comprised of forward-looking statements subject to the risks and uncertainties described in this report and in our other public filings and public statements. Our actual results may not always be in line with or exceed the guidance we have provided or the expectations of our investors and analysts, especially in times of economic uncertainty. Due to the uncertainty around the scope and the duration of the
COVID-19
outbreak, we have delayed issuing guidance for fiscal 2020 until we have better visibility into the effect of the
COVID-19
outbreak on our results. In the past, when we have reduced our previously provided guidance, the market price of our common stock has declined. If, in the future, our operating or financial results for a particular period do not meet our guidance or the expectations of our investors and analysts or if we reduce our guidance for future periods, the market price of our common stock may decline.
A variety of factors, including seasonality and the economic environment, may cause our quarterly operating results to fluctuate, leading to volatility in our stock price.
Our quarterly results have fluctuated in the past and may fluctuate in the future, depending upon a variety of factors, including changes in economic conditions, shifts in the timing of holiday selling seasons, including Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as timing shifts due to
53-week
fiscal years, which occur approximately every five years. Historically, a significant portion of our net revenues and net earnings have typically been realized during the period from October through January each year, our peak selling season. In anticipation of increased holiday sales activity, we incur certain significant incremental expenses prior to and during peak selling seasons, including fixed catalog production and mailing costs and the costs associated with hiring a substantial number of temporary employees to supplement our existing workforce.
Disruptions in the financial markets may adversely affect our liquidity and capital resources and our business.
Global financial markets can experience extreme volatility, disruption and credit contraction, which adversely affect global economic conditions. Such turmoil in financial and credit markets, including as a result of the
COVID-19
outbreak, or other changes in economic conditions could adversely affect sources of liquidity available to us or our costs of capital. For example, each financial institution in the syndicate for our credit facility is responsible for providing a portion of the loans to be made under the facility. If any lender, or group of lenders, with a significant portion of the commitments in our credit facility fails to satisfy its obligations to extend credit under the facility and we are unable to find a replacement for such lender or group of lenders on a timely basis, if at all, our liquidity and our business may be materially adversely affected. Should we need it, we also may not be able to obtain additional credit on terms which are acceptable to us, if at all.
Changes in the method of determining the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, or the replacement of LIBOR with an alternative reference rate, may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Certain of our financial obligations and instruments, including our credit facility, are or may be made at variable interest rates that use LIBOR (or metrics derived from or related to LIBOR) as a benchmark for establishing the interest rate. On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. These reforms may cause LIBOR to perform differently than in the past or to disappear entirely. These reforms may also result in new methods of calculating LIBOR to be established, or alternative reference rates to be established. For example, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has begun publishing a Secured Overnight Funding Rate, or SOFR, which is intended to replace U.S. dollar LIBOR, and central banks in several other jurisdictions have also announced plans for alternative reference rates for other currencies. The potential consequences of these actions cannot be fully predicted and could have an adverse impact on the market value for or value of LIBOR-linked securities, loans,
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and other financial obligations or extensions of credit held by or due to us. Changes in market interest rates may influence our financing costs, returns on financial investments and the valuation of derivative contracts and could reduce our earnings and cash flows. In addition, any transition process may involve, among other things, increased volatility or illiquidity in markets for instruments that rely on LIBOR, reductions in the value of certain instruments or the effectiveness of related transactions such as hedges, increased borrowing costs, uncertainty under applicable documentation, or difficult and costly consent processes. This could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, cash flows, and liquidity.
If we are unable to pay quarterly dividends or repurchase our stock at intended levels, our reputation and stock price may be harmed.
We had approximately $574,982,000 remaining for future repurchases under our existing stock repurchase program as of February 2, 2020. The stock repurchase program and dividend may require the use of a significant portion of our cash earnings. As a result, we may not retain a sufficient amount of cash to fund our operations or finance future growth opportunities, new product development initiatives and unanticipated capital expenditures, which could adversely affect our financial performance. Further, our Board of Directors may, at its discretion, decrease or entirely discontinue the payment of dividends at any time. The stock repurchase program does not have an expiration date and may be limited or eliminated at any time. Our ability to pay dividends and repurchase stock will depend on our ability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations in the future. This ability may be subject to certain economic, financial, competitive and other factors, including the impact of the
COVID-19
outbreak on our liquidity, that are beyond our control. Any failure to pay dividends or repurchase stock after we have announced our intention to do so may negatively impact our reputation and investor confidence in us, and may negatively impact our stock price.
If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired and our investors’ views of us could be harmed.
We have evaluated and tested our internal controls in order to allow management to report on, and our registered independent public accounting firm to attest to, the effectiveness of our internal controls, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. If we are not able to continue to meet the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, or with adequate compliance, we may be required to disclose material weaknesses if they develop or are uncovered, and we may be subject to sanctions or investigation by regulatory authorities, such as the SEC or the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, our internal controls may not prevent or detect all errors and fraud on a timely basis, if at all. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, is based upon certain assumptions and can provide only reasonable assurance that the objectives of the control system will be met. If any of the above were to occur, our business and the perception of us in the financial markets could be negatively impacted.
Changes to accounting rules or regulations may adversely affect our operating results.
Changes to existing accounting rules or regulations may impact our future operating results. A change in accounting rules or regulations may even affect our reporting of transactions completed before the change is effective. The introduction of new accounting rules or regulations and varying interpretations of existing accounting rules or regulations have occurred and may occur in the future, such as the new revenue recognition standard, effective for us in fiscal 2018, and the new lease accounting standard, effective for us in fiscal 2019. Future changes to accounting rules or regulations, or the questioning of current accounting practices, may adversely affect our operating results.
In preparing our financial statements we make certain assumptions, judgments and estimates that affect the amounts reported, which, if not accurate, may impact our financial results.
We make assumptions, judgments and estimates that impact amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements for a number of items, including merchandise inventories, property and equipment, goodwill, self-insured liabilities, and income taxes, among others. These assumptions, judgments and estimates are derived
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from historical experience and various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances as of the date our consolidated financial statements are prepared. Actual results could differ materially from our estimates, and such differences may impact our financial results.
Changes to estimates related to our cash flow projections may cause us to incur impairment charges related to our long-lived assets for our retail stores locations and other property and equipment, including information technology systems, as well as goodwill.
We make estimates and projections in connection with impairment analyses of our long-lived assets for our retail store locations and other property and equipment, including information technology systems, as well as goodwill. These analyses require us to make a number of estimates and projections of future results. If these estimates or projections change or prove incorrect, we may be, and have been, required to record impairment charges on certain store locations and other property and equipment, including information technology systems. These impairment charges have been significant in the past and may be significant in the future and, as a result of these charges, our operating results have been and may, in the future, be adversely affected.
If we fail to attract and retain key personnel, our business and operating results may be harmed.
Our future success depends to a significant degree on the skills, experience and efforts of key personnel in our senior management, whose vision for our company, knowledge of our business and expertise would be difficult to replace. If any one of our key employees leaves, is seriously injured or unable to work, or fails to perform and we are unable to find a qualified replacement, we may be unable to execute our business strategy. In addition, our main offices are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, where competition for personnel with retail and technology skills can be intense. In addition, several of our strategic initiatives, including our technology and supply chain initiatives, require that we hire and/or develop employees with appropriate experience. We may not be successful in recruiting, retaining and motivating skilled personnel domestically or globally who have the requisite experience to achieve our global business goals, and failure to do so may harm our business. Further, in the event we need to hire additional personnel, we may experience difficulties in attracting and successfully hiring such individuals due to competition for highly skilled personnel, as well as the significantly higher cost of living expenses in our markets.
ITEM
1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
 
 
None.
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
We lease store locations, distribution and manufacturing facilities, corporate facilities and customer care centers for our U.S. and foreign operations for original terms generally ranging from 5 to 22 years. Certain leases contain renewal options for periods of up to 20 years.
For our store locations, our gross leased store space as of February 2, 2020 totaled approximately 6,558,000 square feet for 614 stores compared to approximately 6,557,000 square feet for 625 stores as of February 3, 2019.
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Leased Properties
The following table summarizes the location and size of our leased facilities occupied by us as of February 2, 2020:
         
Location
 
Occupied Square Footage (Approximate)
 
Distribution and Manufacturing Facilities
   
 
Mississippi
   
2,165,000
 
New Jersey
   
2,103,000
 
California
   
2,030,000
 
Georgia
   
1,075,000
 
Texas
   
1,064,000
 
Tennessee
   
603,000
 
North Carolina
   
442,000
 
Ohio
   
265,000
 
Massachusetts
   
140,000
 
Florida
   
135,000
 
Oregon
   
91,000
 
Colorado
   
80,000
 
         
Corporate Facilities
   
 
California
   
269,000
 
New York
   
238,000
 
Oregon
   
49,000
 
         
Customer Care Centers
   
 
Nevada
   
36,000
 
Other
   
32,000
 
 
 
In addition to the above leased properties, we enter into agreements for other offsite storage needs for our distribution facilities and our retail store locations, as necessary. As of February 2, 2020, the total leased space related to these properties was not material to us and is not included in the occupied square footage reported above.
Owned Properties
As of February 2, 2020, we owned 471,000 square feet of space, primarily in California, for our corporate headquarters and certain data center operations.
We believe that all of our facilities are adequate for our current needs and that suitable additional or substitute space will be available in the future to replace our existing facilities, or to accommodate the expansion of our operations, if necessary.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We are involved in lawsuits, claims and proceedings incident to the ordinary course of our business. These disputes, which are not currently material, are increasing in number as our business expands and our company grows. We review the need for any loss contingency reserves and establish reserves when, in the opinion of management, it is probable that a matter would result in liability, and the amount can be reasonably estimated. In view of the inherent difficulty of predicting the outcome of these matters, it may not be possible to determine whether any loss is probable or to reasonably estimate the amount of the loss until the case is close to resolution, in which case no reserve is established until that time. Any claims against us, whether meritorious or not, could result in costly litigation, require significant amounts of management time and result in the diversion of significant operational resources. The results of these lawsuits, claims and proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty. However, we believe that the ultimate resolution of these current matters will not have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial statements taken as a whole.
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ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.
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PART II
ITEM 5.
MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
 
 
 
 
MARKET INFORMATION
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, or the NYSE, under the symbol WSM. The closing price of our common stock on the NYSE on March 22, 2020 was $36.37.
STOCKHOLDERS
The number of stockholders of record of our common stock as of March 22, 2020 was 305. This number excludes stockholders whose stock is held in nominee or street name by brokers.
PERFORMANCE GRAPH
This graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return for our common stock with those of the NYSE Composite Index and S&P Retailing, our peer group index. The cumulative total return listed below assumed an initial investment of $100 and reinvestment of dividends. The graph shows historical stock price performance, including reinvestment of dividends, and is not necessarily indicative of future performance.
COMPARISON OF FIVE YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN*
Among Williams-Sonoma, Inc., the NYSE Composite Index,
and S&P Retailing
 
 
* $100 invested on 2/1/15 in stock or index, including reinvestment of dividends. Fiscal year ending February 2, 2020.
 
 
                                                 
 
 
2/1/15
 
 
 
1/31/16
 
 
 
1/29/17
 
 
 
1/28/18
 
 
 
2/3/19
 
 
 
2/2/20
 
Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
   
100.00
     
67.37
     
63.72
     
73.87
     
77.06
     
102.95
 
NYSE Composite Index
   
100.00
     
93.70
     
112.69
     
139.56
     
129.47
     
146.66
 
S&P Retailing
   
100.00
     
118.07
     
140.98
     
203.43
     
210.40
     
253.71
 
 
 
* Notes:
A. The lines represent monthly index levels derived from compounded daily returns that include all dividends.
 
 
B. The indices are
re-weighted
daily, using the market capitalization on the previous trading day.
 
 
C. If the monthly interval, based on the fiscal
year-end,
is not a trading day, the preceding trading day is used.
 
 
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STOCK REPURCHASE PROGRAMS
During fiscal 2019, we repurchased 2,341,931 shares of our common stock, of which 16,368 shares were designated as treasury stock, at an average cost of $63.55 per share and a total cost of $148,834,000. During fiscal 2018, we repurchased 5,373,047 shares of our common stock at an average cost of $54.96 per share and a total cost of $295,304,000. During fiscal 2017, we repurchased 4,050,697 shares of our common stock at an average cost of $48.43 per share and a total cost of $196,179,000.
The following table summarizes our repurchases of shares of our common stock during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 under our stock repurchase program:
                                     
Fiscal period
   
Total Number
of Shares
Purchased
1
     
Average
Price Paid
 Per Share
     
Total Number of
 Shares Purchased as
 Part of a Publicly
Announced Program
1
     
Maximum Dollar Value of
Shares That May
Yet Be Purchased
Under the Program
 
November 4, 2019   
 
–   December 1, 2019
   
160,918
     
$      69.90
     
160,918
     
$         599,853,000
 
December 2, 2019   
 
–   December 29, 2019
   
158,780
     
$      70.85
     
158,780
     
$         588,604,000
 
December 30, 2019 
 
–   February 2, 2020
   
183,262
     
$      74.33
     
183,262
     
$         574,982,000
 
Total
   
502,960
     
$      71.81
     
502,960
     
$         574,982,000
 
 
 
 
1
Excludes shares withheld for employee taxes upon vesting of stock-based awards.
 
 
 
Stock repurchases under our program may be made through open market and privately negotiated transactions at times and in such amounts as management deems appropriate. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors including price, corporate and regulatory requirements, capital availability and other market conditions. The stock repurchase program does not have an expiration date and may be limited or terminated at any time without prior notice.
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ITEM 6.
SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
 
 
 
Five-Year Selected Financial Data
                                         
In thousands, except percentages, per share amounts

and retail stores data
 
Fiscal 2019
(52 Weeks)
   
Fiscal 2018
1
(53 Weeks)
   
Fiscal 2017
(52 Weeks)
   
Fiscal 2016
(52 Weeks)
   
Fiscal 2015
(52 Weeks)
 
Results of Operations
   
     
     
     
     
 
Net revenues
  $
5,898,008
    $
5,671,593
    $
5,292,359
    $
5,083,812
    $
4,976,090
 
Net revenue growth
   
4.0%
     
7.2%
     
4.1%
     
2.2%
     
5.9%
 
Comparable brand revenue growth
2
   
6.0%
     
3.7%
     
3.2%
     
0.7%
     
3.7%
 
Gross profit
  $
2,139,092
    $
2,101,013
    $
1,931,711
    $
1,883,310
    $
1,844,214
 
Gross margin
   
36.3%
     
37.0%
     
36.5%
     
37.0%
     
37.1%
 
Operating income
  $
465,874
    $
435,953
    $
453,811
    $
472,599
    $
488,634
 
Operating margin
3
   
7.9%
     
7.7%
     
8.6%
     
9.3%
     
9.8%
 
Net earnings
  $
356,062
    $
333,684
    $
259,545
    $
305,387
    $
310,068
 
Basic earnings per share
  $
4.56
    $
4.10
    $
3.03
    $
3.45
    $
3.42
 
Diluted earnings per share
  $
4.49
    $
4.05
    $
3.02
    $
3.41
    $
3.37
 
Shares used in calculation of earnings per share:
Basic
   
78,108
     
81,420
     
85,592
     
88,594
     
90,787
 
Diluted
   
79,225
     
82,340
     
86,080
     
89,462
     
92,102
 
Financial Position
   
     
     
     
     
 
Working capital
4
  $
146,080
    $
619,531
    $
628,622
    $
405,924
    $
339,673
 
Total assets
4
  $
4,054,042
    $
2,812,844
    $
2,785,749
    $
2,476,879
    $
2,417,427
 
Return on assets
4
   
10.4%
     
11.9%
     
9.9%
     
12.5%
     
13.1%
 
Net cash provided by operating activities
  $
607,294
    $
585,986
    $
499,704
    $
524,709
    $
544,026
 
Capital expenditures
  $
186,276
    $
190,102
    $
189,712
    $
197,414
    $
202,935
 
Long-term debt and other long-term liabilities
4
  $
1,180,968
    $
380,944
    $
372,226
    $
71,215
    $
49,713
 
Stockholders’ equity
  $
1,235,860
    $
1,155,714
    $
1,203,566
    $
1,248,220
    $
1,198,226
 
Stockholders’ equity per share (book value)
  $
16.02
    $
14.66
    $
14.37
    $
14.29
    $
13.38
 
Return on equity
   
29.8%
     
28.3%
     
21.2%
     
25.0%
     
25.6%
 
Annual dividends declared per share
  $
1.92
    $
1.72
    $
1.56
    $
1.48
    $
1.40
 
Number of stores at
year-end
   
614
     
625
     
631
     
629
     
618
 
Store selling square footage at
year-end
   
4,129,000
     
4,105,000
     
4,019,000
     
3,951,000
     
3,827,000
 
Store leased square footage at
year-end
   
6,558,000
     
6,557,000
     
6,451,000
     
6,359,000
     
6,163,000
 
 
 
 
1
In fiscal 2018, we adopted ASU
2014-09,
Revenue from Contracts with Customers, using the modified retrospective method. Amounts reported for fiscal 2017 and prior years have not been adjusted, and continue to be reported in accordance with previous revenue recognition guidance. See Note A to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
 
 
 
2
Comparable brand revenue is calculated on a
52-week
to
52-week
basis, with the exception of fiscal 2018 which is calculated on a
53-week
to
53-week
basis. See definition of comparable brand revenue within “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
 
 
 
3
Operating margin is defined as operating income as a percent of net revenues.
 
 
 
4
In fiscal 2019, we adopted Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”)
2016-02,
Leases, as of the adoption date. Amounts reported for fiscal 2018 and prior years have not been adjusted, and continue to be reported in accordance with previous lease accounting guidance. See Note A to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
 
 
 
The information set forth above is not necessarily indicative of future operations and should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the Consolidated Financial Statements and notes thereto in this Annual Report on Form
10-K.
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ITEM 7.
MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
 
 
 
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition, results of operations, and liquidity and capital resources for the 52 weeks ended February 2, 2020 (“fiscal 2019”), and the 53 weeks ended February 3, 2019 (“fiscal 2018”) should be read in conjunction with our Consolidated Financial Statements and notes thereto. Fiscal 2018 was a
53-week
year and includes approximately $85,000,000 of net revenues and $0.10 of diluted earnings per share associated with the additional week. All explanations of changes in operational results are discussed in order of magnitude.
A discussion and analysis of our financial condition, results of operations, and liquidity and capital resources for the
53-weeks
ended February 3, 2019 (“fiscal 2018”), compared to the
52-weeks
ended January 28, 2018 (“fiscal 2017”), can be found under Item 7 in our Annual Report on Form
10-K
for fiscal 2018, filed with the SEC on April 4, 2019, which is available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and under the Financial Reports section of our Investor Relations website.
OVERVIEW
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a specialty retailer of high-quality sustainable products for the home. These products, representing distinct merchandise strategies — Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm, Pottery Barn Teen, Williams Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation, and Mark and Graham — are marketed through
e-commerce
websites, direct-mail catalogs and 614 stores. These brands are also part of The Key Rewards, our
free-to-join
loyalty program that offers members exclusive benefits across the Williams-Sonoma family of brands. We operate in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, offer international shipping to customers worldwide, and have unaffiliated franchisees that operate stores in the Middle East, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea, as well as
e-commerce
 websites in certain locations. In December 2017, we acquired Outward, Inc., a
3-D
imaging and augmented reality platform for the home furnishings and décor industry.
Fiscal 2019 Financial Results
Net revenues in fiscal 2019 increased by $226,415,000 or 4.0%, with comparable brand revenue growth of 6.0%. This increase in net revenues was primarily driven by West Elm and Pottery Barn, partially offset by the loss of the additional week of net revenues in fiscal 2018, a fifty-three week year. Total fiscal 2019 net revenue growth included a 5.4% increase in international revenues primarily related to our franchise operations and strength in our Canadian
e-commerce
business and company-owned United Kingdom operations.
All brands delivered positive comparable brand revenue growth in fiscal 2019. Growth in Pottery Barn accelerated from last year, driven by strength in
e-commerce
and growth in new businesses: Marketplace and Pottery Barn Apartment, as well as our digital transformation and brand revitalization strategies. The Pottery Barn Kids and Teen business delivered combined comparable brand revenue growth of 4.5% — its strongest performance in recent years. Our expansion across life stages and aesthetics continued to be key drivers of growth and customer acquisition. West Elm had another year of double-digit net revenue growth and comparable brand revenue growth of 14.4%, on top of 9.5% in fiscal 2018, led by furniture, with strength in dining and bedroom categories, as well as new product introductions. The Williams Sonoma brand delivered comparable brand revenue growth of 0.4%. And, our emerging brands, Rejuvenation and Mark and Graham, combined delivered another year of double-digit revenue growth as they continue to scale and attract new customers.
Gross profit in fiscal 2019 decreased to 36.3% of revenues versus 37.0% in fiscal 2018, primarily driven by lower year-over-year occupancy leverage resulting from one less week of sales in fiscal 2019, increased shipping costs due to a larger mix of furniture and drop-ship sales that are more expensive to ship, as well as the incremental impact from the China tariffs. We have been executing against an aggressive tariff mitigation plan which includes cost reductions from vendors, moving production out of China to South East Asia and to the United States, cost savings in other areas of the business, as well as select price increases. Our approach towards mitigating the financial impact of these tariffs all year enabled us to deliver operating income growth, operating margin expansion, and diluted earnings per share growth.
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In fiscal 2019, diluted earnings per share was $4.49 (which included a $0.30 impact related to operations and acquisition-related expenses of Outward, Inc., $0.11 related to certain employment-related expenses, and an $0.08 benefit related to a deferred tax liability adjustment) versus $4.05 in fiscal 2018 (which included a $0.25 impact related to Outward, Inc., a $0.12 impact related to impairment and early lease termination charges, a $0.07 impact from employment-related expenses, a $0.05 net tax benefit from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and a $0.01 impact of equity accounting rules).
During fiscal 2019, our cross-brand programs also continued to scale. Our cross-brand loyalty program, The Key, continues to be an impactful driver of revenues and customer acquisition as total membership continued to grow during the year, while our complimentary design service, Design Crew, continued to be a significant revenue driver of sales in store. Fiscal 2019 was also a strong start for our new cross-brand Business to Business (B2B) division as we delivered several key wins, which establish an important foundation for our future growth and demonstrate the appeal of our differentiated value proposition to B2B clients.
Critical to the success of our growth initiatives in fiscal 2019 has been our continued focus on improving the customer experience. We enhanced our digital experience with new functionalities and content that enable us to deliver a faster and more personalized experience for our customers. During the year, we launched a machine-learning search engine that allows us to provide more relevant and personalized search results. We added more storytelling and selling content on our product information pages and further optimized our site navigation. We also improved our mobile site speed within search and product information pages through enhancements to our Progressive Web App platform. In addition, we implemented more functional improvements to our Outward-powered Design Crew room planner. In our supply chain, we continued to drive operational improvements which contributed to another year of strong growth and better customer service. Within our
in-home
furniture delivery network in fiscal 2019, we migrated our order management and fulfillment capabilities to a new platform, which allows us to enhance our furniture delivery scheduling capabilities. We also made important strides in increasing customer visibility with the installation of an order tracking program, which provides real-time updates on the day of delivery. Our West Elm West Coast distribution center in Fontana, California is now fully operational, facilitating growth for our West Elm brand on the West Coast, and finally, our
in-house
manufacturing operation continues to be a strategic advantage, attracting demand for our
made-to-order
upholstered furniture across all our brands, and enabling more domestic production, which helps to mitigate the impact of the China tariffs.
Sustainability continues to be a cornerstone of our business and a key differentiator for our brands. During fiscal 2019, we expanded on our commitment to responsibly sourced cotton and wood across our brands and made further progress in our social impact supply chain programs, including Fair Trade, HERproject and VisionSpring. We also transitioned a reporting framework that incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals to provide greater transparency into our purpose and progress. Furthermore, we were recognized for the third consecutive year as one of Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies.
In summary, in fiscal 2019, our strong topline performance, along with the operational efficiencies we drove across the business all year, enabled us to generate operating margin expansion to 7.9% from 7.7% last year. We also delivered another year of robust operating cash flow, which allowed us to return approximately $299,474,000 to our stockholders through dividends and share repurchases.
Looking Ahead to 2020
Despite our strong start to fiscal 2020, we have been making changes to our operations as we navigate the challenges in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. We have been preparing all aspects of our business to continue to support our associates and customers during this time. We believe we have adequate liquidity and strong financial discipline to address the near-term challenges. However, the extent of the recent
COVID-19
outbreak and its impact on our operations, including our recently announced temporary closure of our U.S. and Canadian retail stores, and the markets served by us is uncertain. A prolonged outbreak could further interrupt our operations, our vendors’ operations, and impact consumer spending, which would have a material impact on our revenues, results of operations, cash flows and liquidity position. For more information on risks associated with the
COVID-19
outbreak, please see “Risk Factors” in Item 1A.
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Results of Operations
NET REVENUES
Net revenues consist of sales of merchandise to our customers through our
e-commerce
websites, direct-mail catalogs, and at our retail stores and include shipping fees received from customers for delivery of merchandise to their homes. Our revenues also include sales to our franchisees and wholesale customers, breakage income related to our store-value cards, and incentives received from credit card issuers in connection with our private label and
co-branded
credit cards.
Net revenues in fiscal 2019 increased by $226,415,000 or 4.0%, with comparable brand revenue growth of 6.0%. This increase in net revenues was primarily driven by West Elm and Pottery Barn, partially offset by the loss of the additional week of net revenues in fiscal 2018, a fifty-three week year. Total fiscal 2019 net revenue growth included a 5.4% increase in international revenues, primarily related to our franchise operations, and strength in our Canadian
e-commerce
business and company-owned United Kingdom operations.
The following table summarizes our net revenues by brand for fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018:
                 
In thousands
 
Fiscal 2019
(52 Weeks)
   
Fiscal 2018
(53 Weeks)
 
Pottery Barn
  $
2,214,397
    $
2,177,344
 
West Elm
   
1,466,537
     
1,292,928
 
Williams Sonoma
   
1,032,368
     
1,056,125
 
Pottery Barn Kids and Teen
   
908,561
     
895,762
 
Other
1
   
276,145
     
249,434
 
Total
  $
5,898,008
    $
5,671,593
 
 
1
Primarily consists of net revenues from our international franchise operations, Rejuvenation and Mark and Graham.
 
Comparable Brand Revenue
Comparable brand revenue includes comparable store sales and
e-commerce
sales, including through our direct-mail catalog, as well as shipping fees, sales returns and other discounts associated with current period sales. Comparable stores are defined as permanent stores where gross square footage did not change by more than 20% in the previous 12 months and which have been open for at least 12 consecutive months without closure for seven or more consecutive days. Outlet comparable store net revenues are included in their respective brands. Sales to our international franchisees are excluded from comparable brand revenue as their stores and
e-commerce
websites are not operated by us. Sales from certain operations are also excluded until such time that we believe those sales are meaningful to evaluating their performance. Additionally, comparable brand revenue growth for newer concepts is not separately disclosed until such time that we believe those sales are meaningful to evaluating the performance of the brand.
                 
 
Comparable brand revenue growth
1
 
Fiscal 2019
(52 Weeks)
   
Fiscal 2018
(53 Weeks)
 
Pottery Barn
   
4.1%
     
1.2%
 
West Elm
   
14.4%
     
9.5%
 
Williams Sonoma
   
0.4%
     
1.7%
 
Pottery Barn Kids and Teen
   
4.5%
     
2.8%
 
Total
2
   
6.0%
     
3.7%
 
 
1
Comparable brand revenue is calculated on a 52-week to 52-week basis for fiscal 2019 and on a 53-week to 53-week basis for fiscal 2018
.
 
2
Total comparable brand revenue growth includes the results of Rejuvenation and Mark and Graham.
 
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RETAIL STORE DATA
                 
In thousands
 
Fiscal 2019
(52 Weeks)
   
Fiscal 2018
(53 Weeks)
 
Store count – beginning of year
   
625
     
631
 
Store openings
   
14
     
23
 
Store closings
   
(25
)    
(29
)
Store count – end of year
   
614
     
625
 
Store selling square footage at
year-end
   
4,129,000
     
4,105,000
 
Store leased square footage (“LSF”) at
year-end
   
6,558,000
     
6,557,000
 
 
                                 
 
Fiscal 2019
   
Fiscal 2018
 
 
Store
Count
   
Avg. LSF
Per Store
   
Store
Count
   
Avg. LSF
Per Store
 
Williams Sonoma
   
211
     
6,900
     
220
     
6,900
 
Pottery Barn
   
201
     
14,400
     
205
     
14,200
 
West Elm
   
118
     
13,100
     
112
     
13,100
 
Pottery Barn Kids
   
74
     
7,700
     
78
     
7,500
 
Rejuvenation
   
10
     
8,500
     
10
     
8,500
 
Total
   
614
     
10,700
     
625
     
10,500
 
 
COST OF GOODS SOLD
                                 
In thousands
 
Fiscal 2019
(52 Weeks)
   
% Net
Revenues
   
Fiscal 2018
(53 Weeks)
   
% Net
Revenues
 
Cost of goods sold
1
  $
3,758,916
     
63.7%
    $
3,570,580
     
63.0%
 
 
1
Includes occupancy expenses of $710,523 and $702,537 in fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018, respectively.
 
Cost of goods sold includes cost of goods, occupancy expenses and shipping costs. Cost of goods consists of cost of merchandise, inbound freight expenses,
freight-to-store
expenses and other inventory related costs such as shrinkage, damages and replacements. Occupancy expenses consist of rent, depreciation and other occupancy costs, including common area maintenance, property taxes and utilities. Shipping costs consist of third-party delivery services and shipping materials.
Our classification of expenses in cost of goods sold may not be comparable to other public companies, as we do not include
non-occupancy-related
costs associated with our distribution network in cost of goods sold. These costs, which include distribution network employment, third-party warehouse management and other distribution-related administrative expenses, are recorded in selling, general and administrative expenses.
Fiscal 2019 vs. Fiscal 2018
Cost of goods sold increased by $188,336,000, or 5.3%, in fiscal 2019 compared to fiscal 2018. Cost of goods sold as a percentage of net revenues increased to 63.7% in fiscal 2019 from 63.0% in fiscal 2018. This increase was primarily driven by lower year-over-year occupancy leverage resulting from one less week of sales in fiscal 2019, increased shipping costs due to a larger mix of furniture and drop-ship sales that are more expensive to ship, as well as the incremental impact from the China tariffs.
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SELLING, GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES
                                 
In thousands
 
Fiscal 2019
(52 weeks)
   
% Net
Revenues
   
Fiscal 2018
(53 weeks)
   
% Net
Revenues
 
Selling, general and administrative expenses
  $
1,673,218
     
28.4%
    $
1,665,060
     
29.4%
 
 
Selling, general and administrative expenses consist of
non-occupancy-related
costs associated with our retail stores, distribution and manufacturing facilities, customer care centers, supply chain operations (buying, receiving and inspection) and corporate administrative functions. These costs include employment, advertising, third-party credit card processing and other general expenses.
Fiscal 2019 vs. Fiscal 2018
Selling, general and administrative expenses increased by $8,158,000, or 0.5%, in fiscal 2019 compared to fiscal 2018. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of net revenues decreased to 28.4% in fiscal 2019 from 29.4% in fiscal 2018. This decrease as a percentage of net revenues was driven by the leverage of employment and advertising costs from higher sales and the continued cost savings initiatives across the business, as well as our overall expense discipline.
INCOME TAXES
The effective income tax rate was 22.1% for fiscal 2019 and 22.3% for fiscal 2018.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
As of February 2, 2020, we held $432,162,000 in cash and cash equivalents, the majority of which was held in interest-bearing demand deposit accounts and money market funds, and of which $201,909,000 was held by our foreign subsidiaries. As is consistent within our industry, our cash balances are seasonal in nature, with the fourth quarter historically representing a significantly higher level of cash than other periods.
Throughout the fiscal year, we utilize our cash balances to build our inventory levels in preparation for our fourth quarter holiday sales. In fiscal 2020, we plan to use our cash resources to fund our inventory and inventory-related purchases, advertising and marketing initiatives, stock repurchases and dividend payments, and property and equipment purchases. In addition to our cash balances on hand, we have a credit facility, which provides for a $500,000,000 unsecured revolving line of credit (“revolver”), and a $300,000,000 unsecured term loan facility (“term loan”). The revolver may be used to borrow revolving loans or to request the issuance of letters of credit. We may, upon notice to the administrative agent, request existing or new lenders to increase the revolver by up to $250,000,000, at such lenders’ option, to provide for a total of $750,000,000 of unsecured revolving credit. During fiscal 2019, we had borrowings under the revolver of $100,000,000, all of which were repaid in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. During fiscal 2018, we had borrowings under the revolver of $60,000,000, all of which were repaid in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. As of February 2, 2020, we had $300,000,000 outstanding under our term loan. The term loan matures on January 8, 2021, at which point all outstanding principal and any accrued interest must be repaid. Prior to maturity in fiscal 2020, we intend to renew and extend our $300,000,000 term loan. See Note P: Subsequent Events to our Consolidated Financial Statements. Additionally, as of February 2, 2020, a total of $12,187,000 in issued but undrawn standby letters of credit were outstanding under the credit facility. The standby letters of credit were issued to secure the liabilities associated with workers’ compensation and other insurance programs.
Additionally, we have three unsecured letter of credit reimbursement facilities, which were amended during the year, for a total of $70,000,000, of which an aggregate of $6,462,000 was outstanding as of February 2, 2020. These letter of credit facilities represent only a future commitment to fund inventory purchases to which we had not taken legal title.
We are currently in compliance with all of our financial covenants under the credit facility. We believe our cash on hand, in addition to our available credit facilities, will provide adequate liquidity for our business operations over the next 12 months. see “Risk Factors” in Item 1A and Note P: Subsequent Events to our Consolidated Financial Statements.
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Cash Flows from Operating Activities
For fiscal 2019, net cash provided by operating activities was $607,294,000 compared to $585,986,000 in fiscal 2018. For fiscal 2019, net cash provided by operating activities was primarily attributable to net earnings adjusted for
non-cash
items, a decrease in merchandise inventories, and an increase in accrued expenses and other liabilities, partially offset by a decrease in accounts payable. This represents an increase in net cash provided by operating activities compared to fiscal 2018 primarily due to a decrease in merchandise inventories and a decrease in prepaid expenses, partially offset by an increase in payments for accounts payable and accrued expenses, and a decrease in gift card and other deferred revenue.
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
For fiscal 2019, net cash used in investing activities was $185,548,000 compared to $187,899,000 in fiscal 2018, and was primarily attributable to purchases of property and equipment.
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
For fiscal 2019, net cash used in financing activities was $327,226,000 compared to $450,066,000 in fiscal 2018. For fiscal 2019, net cash used in financing activities was primarily attributable to the payment of dividends and repurchases of common stock. Net cash used in financing activities compared to fiscal 2018 decreased primarily due to a decrease in repurchases of common stock.
Dividends
In fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018, total cash dividends declared were approximately $156,103,000, or $1.92 per common share, and $144,609,000, or $1.72 per common share, respectively. Our quarterly cash dividend may be limited or terminated at any time.
Stock Repurchase Programs
See section titled “Stock Repurchase Programs” within Part II, Item 5 of this Annual Report on Form
10-K
for further information.
Contractual Obligations
The following table provides summary information concerning our future contractual obligations as of February 2, 2020:
                                         
 
Payments Due by Period
1
 
In thousands
 
Fiscal 2020
   
Fiscal 2021
to Fiscal 2023
   
Fiscal 2024
to Fiscal 2025
   
Thereafter
   
Total
 
Current debt
2
  $
300,000
    $
    $
    $
    $
300,000
 
Interest
   
9,634
     
     
     
     
9,634
 
Operating leases
3
   
281,995
     
637,867
     
284,461
     
333,413
     
1,537,736
 
Purchase obligations
4
   
857,106
     
28,420
     
83
     
     
885,609
 
Total
  $
 1,448,735
    $
 666,287
    $
 284,544
    $
 333,413
    $
 2,732,979
 
 
1
This table excludes $43.9 million of liabilities for unrecognized tax benefits associated with uncertain tax positions as we are not able to reasonably estimate when and if cash payments for these liabilities will occur. This amount, however, has been recorded as a liability in our accompanying Consolidated Balance Sheet as of February 2, 2020.
 
2
Current debt consists of term loan borrowings under our credit facility. See Note C to our Consolidated Financial Statements for discussion of our borrowing arrangements.
 
3
Projected undiscounted payments include only those amounts that are fixed and determinable as of the reporting date. See Note E to our Consolidated Financial Statements for discussion of our operating leases.
 
4
Represents estimated commitments at year-end to purchase inventory and other goods and services in the normal course of business to meet operational requirements.
 
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Other Contractual Obligations
We have other liabilities reflected in our Consolidated Balance Sheet. The payment obligations associated with these liabilities are not reflected in the table above due to the absence of scheduled maturities. The timing of these payments cannot be determined, except for amounts estimated to be payable in fiscal 2020, which are included in our current liabilities as of February 2, 2020.
In connection with our acquisition of Outward Inc., we have agreed to pay certain additional amounts to former stockholders of Outward, contingent upon their continued service or the achievement of certain financial performance targets. These contingent obligations are not reflected in the table above. See Note O to Our Consolidated Financial Statements.
We are party to a variety of contractual agreements under which we may be obligated to indemnify the other party for certain matters. These contracts primarily relate to commercial matters, operating leases, trademarks, intellectual property and financial matters. Under these contracts, we may provide certain routine indemnification relating to representations and warranties or personal injury matters. The terms of these indemnifications range in duration and may not be explicitly defined. Historically, we have not made significant payments for these indemnifications. We believe that if we were to incur a loss in any of these matters, the loss would not have a material effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
Commercial Commitments
The following table provides summary information concerning our outstanding commercial commitments as of February 2, 2020:
                                         
 
Amount of Outstanding Commitment Expiration by Period
1
 
In thousands
 
Fiscal 2020
   
Fiscal 2021
to Fiscal 2023
   
Fiscal 2024
to Fiscal 2025
   
Thereafter
   
        Total
 
Standby letters of credit
  $
12,187
    $
 —
    $
    $
    $
12,187
 
Letter of credit facilities
   
6,462
     
     
     
     
6,462
 
Total
  $
18,649
    $
 —
    $
    $
    $
18,649
 
 
1
See Note C to our Consolidated Financial Statements for discussion of our borrowing arrangements.
 
IMPACT OF INFLATION
The impact of inflation (or deflation) on our results of operations for the past three fiscal years has not been significant. However, we cannot be certain of the effect inflation (or deflation) may have on our results of operations in the future.
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations is based on our Consolidated Financial Statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The preparation of these Consolidated Financial Statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. These estimates and assumptions are evaluated on an ongoing basis and are based on historical experience and various other factors that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results could differ from these estimates.
We believe the following critical accounting policies used in the preparation of our Consolidated Financial Statements include the significant estimates and assumptions that we consider to be the most critical to an understanding of our financial statements because they involve significant judgments and uncertainties. See Note A to our Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion of each policy.
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Merchandise Inventories
Merchandise inventories, net of an allowance for shrinkage and obsolescence, are stated at the lower of cost (weighted average method) or market. To determine if the value of our inventory should be reduced below cost, we consider current and anticipated demand, customer preferences and age of the merchandise. The significant estimates used in inventory valuation are obsolescence (including excess and slow-moving inventory and lower of cost or market reserves) and estimates of inventory shrinkage. We reserve for obsolescence based on historical trends of inventory sold below cost and specific identification.
Reserves for shrinkage are estimated and recorded throughout the year as a percentage of net sales based on historical shrinkage results, cycle count results within our distribution centers, expectations of future shrinkage and current inventory levels. Actual shrinkage is recorded at
year-end
based on the results of our cycle counts and year end physical inventory counts, and can vary from our estimates due to such factors as changes in operations, the mix of our inventory (which ranges from large furniture to small tabletop items) and execution against loss prevention initiatives in our stores, distribution facilities and
off-site
storage locations, and with our third-party warehouse and transportation providers. Accordingly, there is no shrinkage reserve at
year-end,
with the exception of a cycle count reserve based on the historical cycle count results in our distribution centers. This reserve was not material to our Consolidated Financial Statements as of February 2, 2020. Historically, actual shrinkage has not differed materially from our estimates.
Our obsolescence and shrinkage reserve calculations contain estimates that require management to make assumptions and to apply judgment regarding a number of factors, including market conditions, the selling environment, historical results and current inventory trends. If actual obsolescence or shrinkage estimates change from our original estimate, we will adjust our reserves accordingly throughout the year. We have made no material changes to our assumptions included in the calculations of the obsolescence and shrinkage reserves throughout the year. In addition, we do not believe a 10% change in our inventory reserves would have a material effect on our net earnings. As of February 2, 2020 and February 3, 2019, our inventory obsolescence reserves were $13,424,000 and $13,580,000, respectively.
Long-lived Assets
Property and equipment is stated at cost. Depreciation is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets.
We review the carrying value of all long-lived assets for impairment, primarily at an individual store level, whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of an asset or asset group may not be recoverable. Our impairment analyses determine whether projected cash flows from operations are sufficient to recover the carrying value of these assets. The asset group is comprised of both property and equipment and operating lease right-of-use assets. Impairment may result when the carrying value of the asset or asset group exceeds the estimated undiscounted future cash flows over its remaining useful life. For store asset impairment, our estimate of undiscounted future cash flows over the store lease term is based upon our experience, the historical operations of the stores and estimates of future store profitability and economic conditions. The estimates of future store profitability and economic conditions require estimating such factors as sales growth, gross margin, employment costs, lease escalations, inflation and the overall economics of the retail industry, and are therefore subject to variability and difficult to predict. For right-of-use assets, we determine the fair value of the assets by using estimated market rental rates. These estimates can be affected by factors such as future store results, real estate demand, store closure plans, and economic conditions that can be difficult to predict. Actual future results may differ from those estimates. If a long-lived asset is found to be impaired, the amount recognized for impairment is equal to the excess of the asset or asset group’s net carrying value over its estimated fair value. We measure property and equipment at fair value on a nonrecurring basis using Level 3 inputs as defined in the fair value hierarchy (see Note M to our Consolidated Financial Statements). We measure right-of-use assets at fair value on a nonrecurring basis using Level 2 inputs, primarily market rental rates, that are corroborated by market data. Where Level 2 inputs are not readily available, we use Level 3 inputs. Fair value of these long-lived assets is based on the present value of estimated future cash flows using a discount rate commensurate with the risk.
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During fiscal 2019, we recorded an approximate $3,303,000, reduction, net of tax to the opening balance of retained earnings resulting from the impairment of certain long-lived assets upon adoption of ASU
2016-02,
Leases
(see Note A to our Consolidated Financial Statements). During fiscal 2018, we recorded asset impairment charges of approximately $9,639,000, related to property and equipment for our retail stores, which is recorded within selling, general and administrative expenses.
Leases
We lease store locations, distribution and manufacturing facilities, corporate facilities, customer care centers and certain equipment for our U.S. and foreign operations with initial terms generally ranging from 2 to 22 years. We determine whether an arrangement is or contains a lease at inception by evaluating potential lease agreements, including service and operating agreements, to determine whether an identified asset exists that we control over the term of the arrangement.
Lease commencement is determined to be when the lessor provides us access to, and the right to control, the identified asset.
Upon lease commencement, we recognize a
right-of-use
asset and a corresponding lease liability measured at the present value of the fixed future minimum lease payments. We record a
right-of-use
asset for an amount equal to the lease liability, increased for any prepaid lease costs and initial direct costs and reduced by any lease incentives. We remeasure the lease liability and
right-of-use
asset when a remeasurement event occurs. Many of our leases contain renewal and early termination options. The option periods are generally not included in the lease term used to measure our lease liabilities and
right-of-use
assets upon commencement, as we do not believe the exercise of these options to be reasonably certain. We remeasure the lease liability and
right-of-use
asset when we are reasonably certain to exercise a renewal or an early termination option.
Our leases generally do not provide information about the rate implicit in the lease. Therefore, we utilized an incremental borrowing rate to calculate the present value of our future lease obligations. The incremental borrowing rate represents the rate of interest we would have to pay on a collateralized borrowing, for an amount equal to the lease payments, over a similar term and in a similar economic environment. We use judgment in determining our incremental borrowing rate, which is applied to each lease based on the lease term. An increase or decrease in the incremental borrowing rate applied would impact the value of our
right-of-use
assets and lease liabilities.
We use judgment in determining lease classification, including our determination of the economic life and the fair market value of the identified asset. The fair market value of the identified asset is generally estimated based on comparable market data provided by third-party sources. All of our leases are currently classified as operating leases.
Business Combinations
We account for acquired businesses when we obtain control of the business using the acquisition method of accounting. Assets acquired and liabilities assumed are recorded based upon the estimated fair value as of the acquisition date. Estimated fair values represent the estimated price that would be paid by a third-party market participant based upon the highest and best use of the assets acquired or liabilities assumed. The determination of the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed requires significant judgment and estimates. In making such judgments and estimates, we utilize inputs from independent third-party valuation specialists and other internal sources. Any excess of the purchase price over the estimated fair value of the identifiable net assets acquired is recorded as goodwill. Acquisition-related expenses are expensed as incurred. During fiscal 2017, we acquired Outward (see Note O to our Consolidated Financial Statements). During the second quarter of fiscal 2018, we finalized the valuation of intangible assets acquired, which primarily represent
3-D
imaging data and core intellectual property, which are being amortized over a useful life of four years.
Goodwill
Goodwill is initially recorded as of the acquisition date, and is measured as any excess of the purchase price over the estimated fair value of the identifiable net assets acquired. Goodwill is not amortized, but rather is subject to
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impairment testing annually (on the first day of the fourth quarter), or between annual tests whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the fair value of a reporting unit may be below its carrying amount. We first perform a qualitative assessment to evaluate goodwill for potential impairment. If based on that assessment, it is more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting unit is below its carrying value, a quantitative impairment test is necessary. The quantitative impairment test requires determining the fair value of the reporting unit. We use the income approach, whereby we calculate the fair value based on the present value of estimated future cash flows using a discount rate that approximates our weighted average cost of capital. The process of evaluating the potential impairment of goodwill is subjective and requires significant estimates and assumptions about the future, such as sales growth, gross margins, employment costs, capital expenditures, inflation and future economic and market conditions. Actual future results may differ from those estimates. If the carrying value of the reporting unit’s assets and liabilities, including goodwill, exceeds its fair value, impairment is recorded for the excess, not to exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to the reporting unit.
As of February 2, 2020 and February 3, 2019, we had goodwill of $85,343,000 and $85,382,000, respectively, primarily related to our fiscal 2017 acquisition of Outward and our fiscal 2011 acquisition of Rejuvenation, Inc. In fiscal 2019, fiscal 2018, and fiscal 2017, we performed a qualitative assessment of potential goodwill impairment and determined it was more likely than not that the fair value of each of our reporting units exceeded its carrying value. Accordingly, no further impairment testing of goodwill was performed. We did not recognize any goodwill impairment in fiscal 2019, fiscal 2018, or fiscal 2017.
Self-Insured Liabilities
We are primarily self-insured for workers’ compensation, employee health benefits, product and other general liability claims. We record self-insurance liability reserves based on claims filed, including the development of those claims, and an estimate of claims incurred but not yet reported, based on an actuarial analysis of historical claims data. Factors affecting these estimates include future inflation rates, changes in severity, benefit level changes, medical costs and claim settlement patterns. Should a different number of claims occur compared to what was estimated, or costs of the claims increase or decrease beyond what was anticipated, reserves may need to be adjusted accordingly. Self-insurance reserves for workers’ compensation, employee health benefits, product and other general liability claims were $27,000,000 and $28,542,000 as of February 2, 2020 and February 3, 2019, respectively.
Income Taxes
Income taxes are accounted for using the asset and liability method. Under this method, deferred income taxes arise from temporary differences between the tax basis of assets and liabilities and their reported amounts in our Consolidated Financial Statements. We record reserves for our estimates of the additional income tax liability that is more likely than not to result from the ultimate resolution of foreign and domestic tax examinations. At any one time, many tax years are subject to examination by various taxing jurisdictions. The results of these audits and negotiations with taxing authorities may affect the ultimate settlement of these issues. We review and update the estimates used in the accrual for uncertain tax positions as more definitive information becomes available from taxing authorities, upon completion of tax examination, upon expiration of statutes of limitation, or upon occurrence of other events.
In order to compute income tax on an interim basis, we estimate what our effective tax rate will be for the full fiscal year and adjust these estimates throughout the year as necessary. Adjustments to our income tax provision due to changes in our estimated effective tax rate are recorded in the interim period in which the change occurs. The tax expense (or benefit) related to items other than ordinary income is individually computed and recognized when the items occur. Our effective tax rate in a given financial statement period may be materially impacted by changes in the mix and level of our earnings in various taxing jurisdictions or changes in tax law.
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ITEM 7A.
QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
 
We are exposed to market risks, which include significant deterioration of the U.S. and foreign markets, changes in U.S. interest rates, foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations and the effects of economic uncertainty which may affect the prices we pay our vendors in the foreign countries in which we do business. We do not engage in financial transactions for trading or speculative purposes.
Interest Rate Risk
Our revolver and our term loan each have a variable interest rate which, when drawn upon, subjects us to risks associated with changes in that interest rate. As of February 2, 2020, we had $300,000,000 outstanding under the term loan, and during fiscal 2019 we had borrowings of $100,000,000 under the revolver, all of which were repaid in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. A hypothetical increase or decrease of one percentage point on our existing variable rate debt instruments would not materially affect our results of operations or cash flows. See Note P: Subsequent Events to our Consolidated Financial Statements.                
In addition, we have fixed and variable income investments consisting of short-term investments classified as cash and cash equivalents, which are also affected by changes in market interest rates. As of February 2, 2020, our investments, made primarily in interest bearing demand deposit accounts and money market funds, are stated at cost and approximate their fair values.
Foreign Currency Risks
We purchase a significant amount of inventory from vendors outside of the U.S. in transactions that are denominated in U.S. dollars and, as such, any foreign currency impact related to these international purchase transactions was not significant to us during fiscal 2019 or fiscal 2018. Since we pay for the majority of our international purchases in U.S. dollars, however, a decline in the U.S. dollar relative to other foreign currencies would subject us to risks associated with increased purchasing costs from our vendors in their effort to offset any lost profits associated with any currency devaluation. We cannot predict with certainty the effect these increased costs may have on our financial statements or results of operations.
In addition, our retail and
e-commerce
businesses in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, and our operations throughout Asia and Europe, expose us to market risk associated with foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Substantially all of our purchases and sales are denominated in U.S. dollars, which limits our exposure to this risk. However, some of our foreign operations have a functional currency other than the U.S. dollar. While the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations was not material to us in fiscal 2019, we have continued to see volatility in the exchange rates in the countries in which we do business. As we continue to expand globally, the foreign currency exchange risk related to our foreign operations may increase. To mitigate this risk, we hedge a portion of our foreign currency exposure with foreign currency forward contracts in accordance with our risk management policies (see Note L to our Consolidated Financial Statements).
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ITEM 8.
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
 
 
 
 
Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Earnings
                         
In thousands, except per share amounts
 
Fiscal 2019
(52 weeks)
 
 
Fiscal 2018
(53 weeks)
 
 
Fiscal 2017
(52 weeks)
 
Net revenues
  $
  5,898,008
    $
5,671,593
    $
5,292,359
 
Cost of goods sold