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There's A Lot To Like About Williams-Sonoma's (NYSE:WSM) Upcoming US$0.71 Dividend

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It looks like Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Therefore, if you purchase Williams-Sonoma's shares on or after the 21st of October, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 26th of November.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.71 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$2.84 per share. Last year's total dividend payments show that Williams-Sonoma has a trailing yield of 1.6% on the current share price of $182.26. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Williams-Sonoma's dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Williams-Sonoma

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Williams-Sonoma is paying out just 17% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Williams-Sonoma generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 12% of its cash flow last year.

It's positive to see that Williams-Sonoma's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

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historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. It's encouraging to see Williams-Sonoma has grown its earnings rapidly, up 31% a year for the past five years. With earnings per share growing rapidly and the company sensibly reinvesting almost all of its profits within the business, Williams-Sonoma looks like a promising growth company.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, Williams-Sonoma has lifted its dividend by approximately 17% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.

The Bottom Line

Is Williams-Sonoma an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Williams-Sonoma has been growing earnings at a rapid rate, and has a conservatively low payout ratio, implying that it is reinvesting heavily in its business; a sterling combination. There's a lot to like about Williams-Sonoma, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.

On that note, you'll want to research what risks Williams-Sonoma is facing. For example - Williams-Sonoma has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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