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Williams-Sonoma Hits 52-Wk High on Solid Q1

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Shares of  Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM - Free Report) reached a new 52-week high of $69.49 on May 22 after announcing robust first-quarter fiscal 2014 results and increasing expectations for the year.

Shares of the specialty retailer of home products eventually closed at $68.93, yielding a solid year-to-date return of 18.4%.

Williams-Sonoma has, in fact, been performing well for quite some time now, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both earnings and revenues for 11 straight quarters.

Growth Drivers

Williams-Sonoma’s first-quarter adjusted earnings (excluding one-time items) of 48 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 44 cents by 9.09%. Earnings also exceeded the company’s expected range of 41 to 44 cents and increased 17.1% year over year on the back of solid top-line growth.

Net revenue of $974 million also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $943 million by 3.3%. Net revenue exceeded the company’s expected range of $920 to $940 million by a wide margin and grew 9.7% year over year, driven by a double-digit increase in comparable brand revenues.

Comparable brand revenues grew 10.0% better than a 7.2% increase in the prior-year quarter, owing to strong sales growth in all the brands, excluding PBteen.  Comparable brand revenues far exceeded the company’s expected range of 4% to 6% increase. Adjusted gross margin grew 20 basis points (bps), while operating margins increased 30 bps during the quarter.

The company believes that product innovation, personalized service and strong marketing and execution across all the brands led to the better-than-expected results in the first quarter of 2014.

Management also raised its outlook for fiscal 2014. For fiscal 2014, Williams-Sonoma expects adjusted earnings per share within $3.07–$3.17 instead of $3.05–$3.15. The company also expects net revenue in the range of $4.65 to $4.73 billion, versus $4.63 to $4.71 billion. Comparable brand revenues are expected to grow in the 5% to 7% range.

Other Stocks to Consider

Williams-Sonoma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors interested in the retail home-furnishings sector may consider Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc. (RH - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks in the broader retail sector that are worth considering include Foot Locker, Inc. (FL - Free Report) and Genesco Inc. (GCO - Free Report) with the same Zacks Rank as Restoration Hardware.

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