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Shares of Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM - Analyst Report) reached a 52-week high of $57.04 on Friday, May 10, 2013, gaining momentum from solid fourth quarter results and dividend hike announced in mid-March. The closing price of shares on May 10 was $56.93, yielding a superb year-to-date return of 26.6%.

Share Price Drivers

WSM surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both earnings and revenues in the fourth quarter. Earnings of $1.34 increased 15% while revenues grew almost 11% year over year. The company also provided a solid outlook for 2013.  

Moreover, in conjunction with the earnings release, Williams-Sonoma board authorized a 41.0% increase in its dividend and a new stock buyback plan.

WSM increased its quarterly dividend to 31 cents from 22 cents. This marks an annual dividend of $1.24 per share, resulting in a current dividend yield of 2.4%. The new share repurchase plan authorizes buyback of shares worth $750 million. The plan is intended to be executed over the next 3 years.  

Further Williams-Sonoma opened four new stores at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Australia and launched new websites in order to improve interaction with customers. In fact, the new stores marked the company’s expansion to international markets. This opening is a part of the company’s global expansion strategy.

In addition, the company launched its new Spring 2013 catalog and a fresh look for its Williams-Sonoma Home brand of furnishings and home decor items on Mar 28. All these activities are likely to boost the company’s top line in the upcoming quarters.

Williams-Sonoma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other stocks in the retail furnishing industry that are currently performing well include Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. (FBHS - Snapshot Report) and Haverty Furniture Companies Inc. (HVT - Snapshot Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and The Home Depot, Inc. (HD - Analyst Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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