Williams-Sonoma Earnings Rise 70 Percent

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Williams-Sonoma Inc. yesterday reported a 70 percent increase in fiscal third-quarter earnings.


San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma, which operates stores under its own name along with Pottery Barn, Hold Everything and Chambers, said that net income for the third quarter ended Oct. 28 rose to $3.9 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, from $2.3 million, or 4 cents per share, last year.


Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call on average expected a profit of 5 cents per share, with estimates ranging from 4 cents to 7 cents. The company lowered its revenue outlook last month to between $460 million and $470 million from a previous range of $478 million to $492 million.


Supported by new stores, the company reported sales of $462.1 million, up 8.8 percent from the $424.6 million posted last year. It had 412 stores at the end of the quarter, up from 370 a year earlier.


Same-store sales fell 1.1 percent for the quarter. Same-store sales increased 2.7 percent in August, dropped 6.1 percent in September and decreased 0.2 percent in October. Pottery Barn retail had the strongest rebound, with October same-store sales up 2.6 percent.


Reduced transportation costs and lower catalog production costs helped offset disruptions in sales resulting from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


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