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Larry Thomas

Pottery Barn, West Elm help Williams-Sonoma to 6.1% sales gain

Driven by its Pottery Barn and West Elm brands, retailer Williams-Sonoma said revenues jumped 6.1% in the quarter ended April 29.

Net income was 2.8% below the same quarter last year, but the decline was due to one-time separation charges stemming from the recent retirement of a former executive.

Total revenues for the quarter were $817.6 million, up from $770.8 million in the comparable period in 2011. The company said revenues from traditional retail stores represented 54.2% of the total in the most recent quarter, while catalog and Internet sales made up 45.8%.

Comparable brand revenue, which represents all three sources of revenue, rose 9.1% at Pottery Barn and 22.1% at West Elm. It was down slightly for the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn Kids and PB teen formats, the company said.

Net income totaled $30.7 million or 30 cents per share. That's down from $31.6 million or 29 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

Without the one-time charges, the most recent quarter's earnings would have been 34 cents per share.

"Our first quarter fiscal 2012 financial results represent the best first quarter in the company's history," said Laura Alber, president and CEO. "We drove earnings growth while simultaneously investing in our future growth strategies."

The retailer slightly raised its revenue and earnings projections for the current 53-week fiscal year. It is now projecting revenues at $3.95 billion to $4.02 billion, up from a March estimate of $3.93 billion to $4.02 billion.

The new earnings projection is $2.38 to $2.45 per share. In March, the estimate was $2.35 to $2.45 per share.

In fiscal 2011, which was a 52-week year, revenues were $3.72 billion and earnings per share were $2.22.

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