* Q4 profit tumbled 90 pct, revenue fell nearly 27 pct
* Sees losses in first 3 qtrs of '09, profit in Q4
* Sees loss of 15 cts/shr-profit of 5 cts/shr in '09
* Shares down 2.6 pct in pre-market trade
(Adds CEO comments, share activity)
NEW YORK, March 24 Williams-Sonoma Inc (WSM.N)
reported a 90 percent drop in quarterly profit on Tuesday and
said it does not expect to earn a profit until the 2009 holiday
shopping season, sending its shares down.
The company, which operates the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery
Barn and West Elm chains, said the just-ended fourth quarter,
ended better than it expected, though "the retail environment
overall was very weak."
Net earnings tumbled to $12.2 million, or 12 cents per
share, in the quarter, ended Feb. 1, from $124.6 million, or
$1.15 per share, a year ago.
Excluding an asset impairment charge and costs associated
with closing stores and cutting jobs, profit was 31 cents per
The company had forecast that earnings would come in at the
low end of a range of 10 cents to 30 cents per share. Excluding
items, it forecast a profit of 18 cents to 39 cents per share.
Net revenue fell nearly 27 percent to $1.01 billion, as
sales at stores open at least a year dropped 22.3 percent, hurt
by the ongoing housing slump and recession.
Williams-Sonoma said it expects losses for the first three
quarters of 2009 and a profit in the fourth quarter.
For the full year, the company forecast results to range
from a loss of 15 cents per share to a profit of 5 cents per
"We are not intending to signal any type of insight into
which direction the economy is headed -- but only that if our
trends continue as they are today; this is how we would expect
the year to unfold," Chief Executive Howard Lester said in a
Williams-Sonoma said its outlook represents a snapshot of
how it believes 2009 will look if current sales trends continue
and it delivers on plans such as offering more lower-priced
items, making its supply chain more efficient, keeping
inventories tight, reducing capital spending and renegotiating
retail leases where possible.
Williams-Sonoma shares were down 2.6 percent at $10.89 in
pre-market trade, after rising as much as 3.2 percent.
(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)