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Pandemic caused ‘huge disruption’ with shift to e-commerce: Williams-Sonoma CEO

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Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss changing consumer behavior amid the pandemic.

Video Transcript

ANDY SERWER: Talk about the quarter that you guys just announced the other day. It was actually very well received, shall we say, by the street, and looked pretty positive. What was successful? What's working for you guys?

LAURA ALBER: We outperformed on both the top and the bottom line. We had broad based growth. We ran a 30 comp. We had 360 basis points of operating margin expansion. And as I said, it was across all of our banners. And our growth initiatives are accelerating. And things are going very well within each brand. And so when you take it all together, that's why we're outperforming. And we have laid out those initiatives into the future and see a really clear and optimistic view of where we're going.

And so as a result, we raised guidance on the year again. And we raised our longer term outlook and pushed up our growth initiatives by a year and increased our op margin. And we're very optimistic. And I got to tell you, there's so much opportunity, Andy, because it's such a fractured market. The macro is favorable for home furnishings. And there's a huge disruption from brick and mortar to online. So before the pandemic, 80% of customers shopped in retail stores for our industry. 80%.

Even if the pandemic hadn't happened, that would never have held with the way technology is moving. So we knew that there was going to be this huge market share gain opportunity, and that that's why we needed to invest and stay very focused omni and digital. And then the pandemic sped it all up. And everyone got really much more comfortable shopping online. Because they had to, right? And so you don't forget that. When that works and you now feel comfortable doing a shopping on your phone even, which is a huge area of growth is mobile, you continue to do it.

And so the disruption from brick and mortar to online was expedited. And people like us have really benefit from that and will continue to in the future.