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Williams-Sonoma Q4 earnings beat Street; West Elm, online surges

Williams-Sonoma Inc. raised its dividend by nearly 12% and increased its share buyback program amid strong fourth-quarter earnings and continued momentum in its West Elm division and online sales.

Net earnings totaled $155 million, or $1.93 a share, in the quarter ended Feb.3, compared with $96 million, or $1.13 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, Williams-Sonoma earned $2.10 a share. Analysts had expected $1.96 a share.

Revenue rose 9.3% to $1.8 billion, in line with expectations. E-commerce net revenue grew 14.3% and accounted for 54.6% of total company net revenues during Q4.

Same-store sales rose 2.4%. By brand, same-store sales rose 11.1% at West Elm, 1.6% at Pottery Barn Kids & Teens, and 0.1% at Williams-Sonoma. Same-store sales fell 0.4% at Pottery Barn.

For the full fiscal year, net earnings increased 14.7% to $333.7 million. Net revenue rose 7.2% to $5.7 billion. E-commerce net revenue was up 10.9% to $3.1 billion. Consolidated same-store sales rose 3.7%.

Going forward, Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber said the company will continue to improve the customer experience through technology innovation and supply chain optimization.

“We believe this is our oxygen for growth,” she said. “We have built over time a vertically-integrated supply chain and a highly unique platform to launch and scale new brands and businesses. These are unparalleled advantages, which will enable us to deliver mid-to-high single digit revenue and margin stability for the long-term.”

Williams-Sonoma forecast revenue between $5.67 billion and $5.84 billion for 2019, and earnings per share between $4.50 a share and $4.70 a share. Analysts were looking for earnings per share of $4.47 on revenue of $5.74 billion.

Separately, the company's board approved an 11.6% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to 48 cents a share. The board also increased the amount available for repurchases under its existing stock repurchase program by $500 million.
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