Williams-Sonoma Inc. said its fourth-quarter profit fell 9% to $44.5 million, or 79 cents a share, due largely to a soft holiday season and price markdowns, but the home goods retailer's shares rallied as it held firm to current earnings guidance for coming quarters. The latest results beat the average estimate of analysts by a penny. The San Francisco-based company, which operates Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Hold Everything stores and catalogs, said revenue rose 19% to $673.2 million and same-store sales grew 3.5%. Its shares rose $2.45 to close at $28.77 on the NYSE, amid a steep decline in the broader market.
Separately, Ross Stores Inc. said its fourth-quarter net income fell 6% to $45.2 million, or 56 cents a share, hurt by heavy promotions to move merchandise. The retailer of off-price apparel also warned that its first-quarter earnings could be lower than expected if sluggish sales continue. The latest results were 2 cents higher than analysts expected. Revenue was up 12% to $779 million, but sales at stores open at least a year declined 1%. Shares of Newark, Calif.-based Ross Stores declined 69 cents to close at $20.13 on Nasdaq.