(WSM) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday that beat analysts' expectations by a penny but said growth would falter in the first half of its current fiscal year.

The retailer, which sells kitchen equipment and other housewares, earned $44.5 million, or 79 cents a share, compared with $48.7 million, or 82 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Eighteen analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thomson Financial

offered a consensus estimate of 78 cents.

Revenue rose to $673.2 million from $565.8 in the year-ago quarter.

In the first quarter, the company said it would lose as much as 3 cents a share or break even. Analysts surveyed by First Call expect a loss of 2 cents a share for the San Francisco-based company. In the second quarter, Williams-Sonoma said it could lose or gain a penny a share, roughly in line with analysts' breakeven estimate. Finally, executives said the company would earn between $1.17 and $1.23 a share in the fiscal year, in range of the First Call estimate of $1.19.

Shares of Williams Sonoma closed Tuesday at $26.32, and have a 52-week range of $15.50 to $45.76.