Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Williams-Sonoma (WSM) to Sell

Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Williams-Sonoma's consistent enhancement of e-commerce channel, optimization of supply chain and the transformation of retail fleet through investment in new and remodeled stores have been the principle growth drivers. That said, as Williams-Sonoma derives substantial revenues from efficient catalog circulation and digital marketing, it is affected by costs associated with continued investments in e-commerce. Further, supply chain investments are denting the company’s operating margins. In fact, in 2017, the company’s operating margin was down 70 basis points (bps) year over year. Shares of Williams-Sonoma have also underperformed its industry in the past three months. The company’s shares have lost 11.1% compared with the industry’s decline of 3.8%. Earnings estimates for the current year have also moved down 0.2% over the past seven days.”

Several other brokerages have also issued reports on WSM. Goldman Sachs lowered Williams-Sonoma from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. Gordon Haskett upgraded Williams-Sonoma from a “reduce” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $61.00 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday, March 14th. Barclays set a $45.00 price target on Williams-Sonoma and gave the company a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, March 15th. BTIG Research lifted their price target on Williams-Sonoma to $47.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, March 15th. Finally, Loop Capital lifted their price target on Williams-Sonoma to $55.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, March 15th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have issued a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. Williams-Sonoma currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $51.21.

Shares of Williams-Sonoma opened at $48.79 on Wednesday, according to MarketBeat.com. Williams-Sonoma has a one year low of $48.26 and a one year high of $49.25. The stock has a market cap of $4.05 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.52, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.89 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 1.62 and a quick ratio of 0.57.

Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, March 14th. The specialty retailer reported $1.68 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.61 by $0.07. Williams-Sonoma had a return on equity of 26.06% and a net margin of 4.90%. The firm had revenue of $1.68 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.65 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.55 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 6.2% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts expect that Williams-Sonoma will post 4.18 EPS for the current year.

Williams-Sonoma announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Wednesday, March 14th that authorizes the company to repurchase $286.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the specialty retailer to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, CEO Laura Alber sold 97,965 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.21, for a total value of $5,310,682.65. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 264,621 shares in the company, valued at approximately $14,345,104.41. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Janet Hayes sold 9,034 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, March 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.66, for a total value of $466,696.44. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 38,563 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,992,164.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Rational Advisors LLC bought a new position in Williams-Sonoma in the 4th quarter worth approximately $171,000. Private Trust Co. NA bought a new position in Williams-Sonoma in the 4th quarter worth approximately $203,000. Covenant Asset Management LLC bought a new position in Williams-Sonoma in the 1st quarter worth approximately $208,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank increased its position in Williams-Sonoma by 49.1% in the 4th quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 4,340 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $224,000 after buying an additional 1,429 shares during the period. Finally, Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC bought a new position in Williams-Sonoma in the 1st quarter worth approximately $226,000.

Williams-Sonoma Company Profile

Williams-Sonoma, Inc operates as a multi-channel specialty retailer of various products for home. It operates through two segments, E-commerce and Retail. The company offers cooking, dining, and entertaining products, including cookware, tools, electrics, cutlery, tabletop and bar, outdoor, furniture, and a library of cookbooks under the Williams Sonoma brand, as well as home furnishings and decorative accessories under the Williams Sonoma Home brand; and furniture, bedding, bathroom accessories, rugs, curtains, lighting, tabletop, outdoor, and decorative accessories under the Pottery Barn brand.

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Analyst Recommendations for Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM)

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