San Francisco-based home goods chain Williams-Sonoma reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, aided by fewer discounts and strong online sales in the holiday season.

The company, operator of Williams-Sonoma cookware stores and the Pottery Barn furnishings chain, also raised its quarterly cash dividend by 41 percent to 31 cents a share, and approved a new $750 million stock repurchase program. Its shares rose 5.2 percent to $47.55 in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

In the years after the 2007-09 recession, the company has focused on selling more through its website and catalog, helping it become the e-commerce leader among home furnishings chains.

Riley, the yellow lab from Oakland, waits for his owners shopping for gifts at the Williams Sonoma store on Bay St. in Emeryville, Calif.  on Friday, Dec.
Riley, the yellow lab from Oakland, waits for his owners shopping for gifts at the Williams Sonoma store on Bay St. in Emeryville, Calif. on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011. (Laura A. Oda/Staff) ( LAURA A. ODA/STAFF )

Sales at its direct-to-consumer business, which includes catalog and e-commerce, rose 19.3 percent in the fourth quarter, covering the busiest selling season of the year.

Net earnings rose to $133.7 million, or $1.34 a share, from $122.6 million, or $1.17 a share, a year earlier. Analysts were looking for $1.29 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 10.9 percent to $1.41 billion in the quarter, ended Feb. 3, while analysts expected $1.40 billion.