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Williams-Sonoma Profit Jumps 28%

Sales at the specialty retailer rise nearly 17% to $1 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter.

March 19, 2004|From Dow Jones/Associated Press

Kitchen and home products retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc. on Thursday posted a 28% jump in net income for its latest quarter, as sales at its flagship stores rose.

The San Francisco-based company reported earnings of $102.1 million, or 85 cents a share, for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Feb. 1, compared with $79.8 million, or 67 cents, in the same quarter a year ago.

Total revenue, including shipping fees, climbed nearly 17% to $1 billion from $859 million in the previous year's fourth quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected, on average, earnings of 84 cents a share on sales of $1 billion.

Williams-Sonoma's chains include the namesake Williams-Sonoma stores as well as Grande Cuisine, Pottery Barn and Hold Everything. The company also distributes eight catalogs, operates about 14 Williams-Sonoma outlet stores and four websites.

Retail sales increased 12% to $625.1 million, primarily driven by a 12% increase in retail space leased by the company, including 34 new stores.

Overall sales at stores open at least a year increased 4.1%.

Williams-Sonoma anticipates earnings of between $1.52 and $1.56 a share on revenue of $3.10 billion to $3.17 billion in the current fiscal year, which will end in February 2005.

A First Call estimate projects earnings of $1.53 a share on sales of $3.15 billion. In the just-ended fiscal year, the company earned $157.2 million, or $1.32 a share, on revenue of $2.75 billion.

The retailer said it planned to drive sales growth in its Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn brands by adding 30 retail locations, increasing catalog circulation, expanding electronic direct marketing and pushing its bridal and gift registry businesses.

In the first quarter, the company expects earnings of 15 or 16 cents a share on revenue of $627 million to $639 million, with a 4% to 6% pickup in same-store sales.

Analysts project first-quarter earnings of 14 cents a share on revenue of $628.3 million. In last year's fiscal first quarter, the company earned 11 cents on revenue of $536.8 million.

Shares of Williams-Sonoma closed at $33.61, up 81 cents Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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