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Williams-Sonoma Jumps as Quarterly Profit Beats Estimates

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Williams-Sonoma Inc., the owner of the namesake, Pottery Barn and West Elm home-goods chains, advanced after reporting quarterly profit that exceeded analyst estimates, a buyback program and a dividend increase.

The shares jumped as much as 8.3 percent to $48.97 in extended trading, after slipping 0.8 percent to $45.21 at the close in New York.

Net income for the fourth quarter were $1.34 a share, compared with $1.17 a share a year earlier, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement today. Analysts projected $1.28 a share, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Williams-Sonoma’s revenue exceeded analyst estimates after sales at West Elm soared by almost a fifth. An improved U.S. housing market has encouraged consumers to refurnish their homes.

Revenue increased 11 percent to $1.41 billion, ahead of the $1.39 billion average estimate of analysts. Sales at stores open at least a year gained 19 percent at West Elm, and Pottery Barn Kids’ advanced 7.7 percent. The namesake stores’ sales fell 1.6 percent.

The company also announced today it increased its quarterly dividend to 31 cents a share from 22 cents a share and said its board authorized a new $750 million stock repurchase program.

It also said that Janet Hayes would become the new president of the Williams-Sonoma brand, replacing Richard Harvey, who is departing after 30 years at the company. Hayes has been president of Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen.

To contact the reporters on this story: Duane D. Stanford in Atlanta at dstanford2@bloomberg.net; Cotten Timberlake in Washington at ctimberlake@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kevin Orland at korland@bloomberg.net

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