Tags: US | Earns | Williams | Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma Profit Rises Sevenfold as Sales Soar

Monday, 22 Mar 2010 02:25 PM

Williams-Sonoma Inc. said Monday that higher revenue helped lift its fourth-quarter profit more than sevenfold from a year earlier, when one-time charges hurt it.

The kitchen ware seller also said it now expects stronger results during the current fiscal year than analysts, and it raised its quarterly dividend by a penny a share.

Williams-Sonoma's shares jumped $2.49, or 10.3 percent, to $26.63 in afternoon trading. Earlier in the session the stock reached a new 52-week high of $26.66.

Chairman and CEO Howard Lester said in a statement that the company maneuvered through the economic downturn in part by reducing expenses and trimming inventory — an approach many retailers took. The company announced this winter that Lester will retire in May.

Williams-Sonoma reported earning $88.4 million, or 81 cents per share, for the three months that ended Jan. 31. A year earlier, it earned $12.2 million, or 12 cents per share.

Removing charges for early lease termination, a drop in the value of its assets and other one-time items, the company earned 86 cents per share, compared with adjusted profit of 31 cents per share a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who normally exclude one-time items, predicted a profit of 74 cents per share for the most recent quarter.

Revenue climbed 8 percent to $1.09 billion from $1.01 billion and surpassed Wall Street's forecast for $1.07 billion.

Sales at stores open at least a year increased 7.6 percent. This figure is a key indicator of retailer performance because isn't skewed by results from stores that open or close during the year.

"Williams-Sonoma's results indicate that the market for home furnishings continued to perform well after the holidays," Michael Lasser of Barclays Capital wrote in a client note.

He reaffirmed an "Underweight" rating and $17 price target.

For the year, Williams-Sonoma's profit more than doubled to $77.4 million, or 72 cents per share, from $30 million, or 28 cents per share, in the previous year. Adjusted profit was 95 cents per share.

Annual revenue fell 8 percent to $3.1 billion from $3.36 billion.

Williams-Sonoma anticipates its fiscal 2010 adjusted profit will climb 22 percent to 33 percent, which implies earnings of about $1.16 to $1.26 per share. It also forecasts revenue growth of 3 percent to 6 percent, which implies revenue of $3.2 billion to $3.3 billion.

Analysts expect a full-year profit of $1.02 per share on revenue of $3.19 billion.

The retailer also raised its quarterly dividend by 8.3 percent to 13 cents from 12 cents. The dividend will be paid on May 24 to shareholders of record April 27.

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Williams-Sonoma Inc. said Monday that higher revenue helped lift its fourth-quarter profit more than sevenfold from a year earlier, when one-time charges hurt it.The kitchen ware seller also said it now expects stronger results during the current fiscal year than analysts,...
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2010-25-22
 

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