Williams-Sonoma 2nd-qtr profit up on strong sales

Williams-Sonoma beats expectations in 2nd qtr on strong sales, but profit forecast disappoints

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Williams-Sonoma said Wednesday that its fiscal second-quarter profit jumped nearly 13 percent as sales gained.

The high-end home goods retailer raised its full-year forecast based on the quarter's results, but its profit outlook still fell short of market expectations, and shares fell in afternoon trading.

The San Francisco company, which owns Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Rejuvenation and West Elm, is benefiting from the housing recovery that has gradually taken root in many parts of the country.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. reported that it earned $48.9 million, or 49 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Aug. 4. That is up from $43.4 million, or 43 cents per share, for its second quarter last year. Its total revenue increased 12 percent to $982 million from $874 million.

The results beat market expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet, on average, were anticipating earnings of 47 cents per share on revenue of $938.9 million.

The company said its revenue from stores open at least a year increased 8.4 percent, on top of a 7.4 percent gain in the same quarter last year. This is considered a key measure of a retailer's financial performance, because it strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores. This measure increased at all of its brands except its namesake during the most recent period.

Its revenue from its direct-to-consumer business, which typically includes catalog and online sales, increased by 15 percent to $477.7 million.

Williams-Sonoma President and CEO Laura Alber said that the results demonstrate strong demand for its brands and the profitability of its multi-brand platform. The company also said that it will expand its international presence, adding more stores in Australia and entering the United Kingdom later this year. It also announced Wednesday that it has struck a franchise agreement with Store Specialists Inc. to bring its Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids brands to the Philippines.

The company said it now expects to earn $2.69 to $2.79 per share on an adjusted basis for its full fiscal year, on revenue between $4.26 billion and $4.34 billion. That is up from its prior forecast for earning of $2.67 to $2.77 per share, on revenue between $4.22 billion to $4.30 billion.

But it still came in below analysts' forecast for full-year earnings of $2.81 per share, on revenue of $4.28 billion.

Williams-Sonoma anticipates earnings of 51 to 54 cents per share for its third quarter on revenue between $1.02 billion to $1.04 billion. Analysts were anticipating earnings of 55 cents per share on revenue of $1 billion.

The company's shares spiked earlier in the day, after the results were published early by several media organizations. Trading was briefly halted and the company then posted results.

The stock retreated later in the day, giving up $1.84, or 3.1 percent, to $57.10. Shares have traded between $40.80 and $61.56 in the past 52 weeks and are up about 32 percent since the start of the year.

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