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Williams-Sonoma reports gain in holiday sales

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Williams-Sonoma Inc. said Wednesday that its revenue increased 4.8 percent to $1.01 billion for the nine-week holiday period that ended Dec. 30.

The cooking and housewares company's President and CEO Laura Alber said the results reflect the strength of its brands, as it made the gains amid tough competition and a difficult economy. Holiday sales are critical to retailers, which can often pull in as much as 40 percent of their annual revenue during the final two months of the year.

Williams-Sonoma also backed its fourth-quarter and full-year forecasts on Wednesday.

The company expects to earn $1.21 to $1.28 per share for its fourth quarter on revenue of $1.36 billion to $1.4 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had forecast earnings of $1.30 per share on revenue of $1.4 billion. The retailer expects to earn between $2.45 and $2.52 per share on an adjusted basis for the year on revenue of $4 billion; analysts were expecting $2.54 per share on revenue of $4.04 billion.

Williams-Sonoma will discuss its performance in more detail in March when it releases its fourth quarter results.

The company, based in San Francisco, owns its namesake brand, as well as the Pottery Barn, West Elm, Rejuvenation, Mark and Graham brands.

Shares fell $1.17, or roughly 2.5 percent, to $45.96 in after-hours following the release of the sales update. Its shares fell 18 cents to close regular trading at $47.13.