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Williams-Sonoma Q1 earnings slip, raises outlook

San Francisco -- Williams-Sonoma Inc. reported Thursday that first-quarter profit dipped to $30.7 million, from $31.6 million last year, but results topped Wall Street estimates and the retailer has raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Sales increased 6% to $817.6 million, also surpassing analysts’ estimates of $811.7 million. Same-store sales grew 5.4% overall, driven by strength from Pottery Barn (up 9.1%) and West Elm (up 22.1%).

“We have good momentum entering the second quarter, and we have made progress on our strategic initiatives for each of our brands to help ensure that the strong start to 2012 leads to similar results for the year,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO.

The company said it will temporarily close four Williams-Sonoma stores in fiscal year 2012, along with three Pottery Barn stores, three Pottery Barn Kids and one West Elm store, all of which will be re-opened following a remodel.

In related news, Williams-Sonoma announced that it has named Anna Last, former editor-in-chief at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's Everyday Food, as its senior VP and creative director.

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