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Williams-Sonoma CEO to Retire

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) said Chief Executive Ed Mueller will retire at the end of the week, and separately, the housewares seller lowered its revenue projections for the second quarter and full year.

Mueller will remain a director until next May. To fill the CEO post, the company has picked Chairman Howard Lester, Williams-Sonoma's top executive from 1979 to 2001. Lester will continue to serve as chairman, a role he's had since 1986.

Regarding its outlook, Williams-Sonoma reiterated its second-quarter and fiscal-year guidance for earnings before items, but it cut its top-line goals.

The company now believes second-quarter net revenue will be $823 million to $837 million, down from its previous forecast of $842 million to $856 million. For the year, net revenue will likely be $3.83 billion to $3.90 billion, compared with its earlier targets of $3.87 billion to $3.93 billion.

However, Williams-Sonoma raised its second-quarter profit forecast by 5 cents and its full-year prediction by 6 cents, using generally accepted accounting principles.

Mueller's retirement wasn't the only personnel change, as Williams-Sonoma also named Laura Alber, the president of its Pottery Barn brands, to the position of president of the parent company.

Additionally, Sharon McCollam, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will get the added title of chief operating officer, and Dean Miller, senior vice president of global logistics and sourcing, will become executive vice president and chief supply chain officer.

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