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Williams-Sonoma Profit Surges 55%

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Williams-Sonoma Inc. Wednesday said profit for its latest quarter jumped 55 percent, as sales surged at its Pottery Barn and outlet stores.

The San Francisco-based home products retailer also raised its revenue estimates for the next two quarters and its fiscal 2004 outlook.

Williams-Sonoma said it had net income of $27.6 million, or 23 cents a share, for the second quarter ended Aug. 1, up from $17.8 million, or 15 cents, a year earlier.

The latest results beat the 19 cents a share average prediction of analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Revenue for the latest quarter surged 19 percent to $689.6 million from $580.4 million.

In morning trading, shares of Williams-Sonoma were up $2.31, or 7.3 percent, to $33.80 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Williams-Sonoma's direct-to-customer sales, including catalog and Internet, jumped 27 percent in the quarter to $262 million from $206.3 million a year earlier on the back of Pottery Barn, PBteen and Pottery Barn Kids brands.

The retailer said Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids also drove second-quarter retail sales growth, partially offset by a decline at its Hold Everything chain, where stores closed.

Second-quarter sales at stores open at least a year, also known as same-store sales, increased by 5 percent overall.

Same-store sales grew 10.2 percent at Pottery Barn and 19 percent at outlets.

Same-store sales slid 1.6 percent at the company's flagship Williams-Sonoma stores.

For its third quarter, Williams-Sonoma backed its earnings view of 21 cents to 23 cents a share, despite boosting its revenue growth estimate, citing uncertainty over the effects of a large catalog mailing. The company projected revenue of $719 million to $735 million, up from prior estimates of $709 million to $725 million.

Wall Street analysts estimate third-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share, on revenue of $717.6 million, according to First Call.

A year ago, the company posted earnings of $23.8 million, or 20 cents a share, on revenue of $632.8 million.

For the fourth quarter, Williams-Sonoma backed its income estimate of 95 cents to 99 cents a share and projected revenue of $1.11 billion to $1.14 billion.

Wall Street analysts have projected, on average, fourth-quarter earnings of 97 cents a share, on revenue of $1.13 billion.

For the full fiscal year, the company raised its estimates to $1.57 to $1.61, from a prior range of $1.53 to $1.57. Williams-Sonoma now sees full-year revenue of $3.163 billion to $3.207 billion, up from an earlier forecast of $3.126 billion to $3.186 billion.

Wall Street analysts have projected, on average, full-year earnings of $1.57 a share, on revenue of $3.17 billion.
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