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Williams-Sonoma Beats Expectations in 1Q

Williams-Sonoma Inc. turned in a strong first quarter performance its Pottery Barn nameplates rebounded and shoppers responded to new opening price point programs at several of its brands.

Earnings per share for the quarter ended May 2 was 18 cents compared to an 18 cent loss in last year's first quarter. Gross margin climbed to 37.7% of sales compared to 30.1% in the year-ago period.

Total revenues rose 17.3% to $718 million, with consolidated comps up 17.0%. Direct-to-consumer (catalog and internet) sales rose 20.3% to $306 million, with Pottery Barnd, Pottery Barn Kids and PTteen leading the way.

“Stronger-than-expected sales and greater-than expected full-price selling drove these better-than-expected results,” said Sharon McCollam, evp, chief operating officer and cfo.

Textiles was a top performer at most Pottery Barn, PB Kids, PB Teen and West Elm, executives told analysts during the company's quarterly conference call last week.

The company raised its outlook for the full fiscal year to EPS of $1.39 to $1.48, with sales expected to rise 6% to 9%. Previously, it had forecasted full-year EPS of $1.16 to $1.26.

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