Williams-Sonoma Plunges as Forecast Trails Estimates

Williams-Sonoma Inc., the San Francisco-based seller of cookware and home furnishings, plunged the most in 31 months after its third-quarter forecast missed analysts’ estimates.

Earnings will be 58 cents to 63 cents a share, the company said yesterday in a statement. Analysts had estimated 66 cents on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The forecast raised concerns that Williams-Sonoma isn’t coping with a broader retail slump as well as expected. The company’s same-store sales had exceeded projections in the first quarter, benefiting from a rising housing market. In the most recent period, they grew 5.7 percent, missing the Consensus Metrix estimate of 6.2 percent.

The stock fell 12 percent to $65.93 at the close in New York for the biggest decline since January 2012. The shares had gained almost 29 percent this year through yesterday.

Williams-Sonoma isn’t the only retailer offering a disappointing outlook. Guess? Inc., the Los Angeles-based clothing chain, cut its annual profit forecast yesterday to $1.05 to $1.20 a share. That was down from as much as $1.60. The shares tumbled as much as 12 percent to $22.60 in late trading.

The company blamed slow traffic in North America and reliance on promotions to drive sales. That’s “continued to put our brick and mortar stores under pressure,” Guess Chief Executive Officer Paul Marciano said in a statement.