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Ahead of the Bell: Williams-Sonoma

NEW YORK (AP) -- Citi added Williams-Sonoma to its top picks list Friday, saying that the retailer has plenty of room for growth overseas.

Analyst Kate McShane believes the company's story seems to be more similar to a Nike Inc. or Ralph Lauren Corp. in that its brand has global appeal, along with a direct-to-consumer business that has a strong balance sheet to support growth overseas.

"While Williams-Sonoma is only just starting to show where the brand can go, buying the stock here is getting you into the international growth story at the ground level," she wrote.

McShane said that the company's website — which makes up 45 percent of sales — gives it a competitive advantage, as it is able to gather customer information and data that should help with its international growth.

McShane maintained a "Buy" rating and lifted the company's price target to $63 from $56.

A representative for Williams-Sonoma Inc. did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Shares of Williams-Sonoma Inc. hit an all-time high Thursday after rising almost 18 percent this year.