Building Williams-Sonoma in Oz

williams sonomaOne year after debuting on Australian soil, US homewares giant, Williams-Sonoma, will open eight new stores by early 2015.

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Williams-Sonoma operates homewares and kitchen brands Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Williams Sonoma and West Elm, with Australia its first market outside of North America, having debuted in May 2013.

The first store is located at Bondi Junction, with the brands occupying a shared 2040sqm space on Oxford St, adjacent to Westfield.

Bondi Junction was the first location in the world to have all four stores in the Williams-Sonoma group located under the same roof.

Four of the new Australian stores will open within Sydney’s Chatswood Chase in August, followed by another four stores at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne by early 2015.

Unlike Bondi Junction, which has all four brands in a single tenancy, the Chatswood Chase each brand will be larger, separate sites, spread throughout the centre. The total footprint will be around 2521sqm.

“We’ve had such a great response to our brand since last May,” Michelle Hummell, VP global markets, Pottery Barn Brands, told Inside Retail PREMIUM.

“We’re learning a lot about what the customer wants, and after being in the market for a year I think we’re really adapting our assortment to focus on the relaxed, entertaining lifestyle that Australians are looking for,” Hummell said.

“At Chatswood, we’ll be able to show the customer a larger breadth of assortments from very small living to very grand living.

“Speaking specifically for the Pottery Barn brand, all of the product is available online, but with the new store there will be a bigger expression of the brand instore.

“We’ll be able to show the customer different ways of living and how they can adapt to their own space.

“Because of the size we’ll be able to show larger, grander statements. What that means is we’ll be able show more sectional, larger scale furniture, and more breadth of assortment.”

Pottery Barn kids will focus more on new mums and nursery customers, expanding its gifting and embroidering services.

At Chadstone, the four brands will be housed under a single tenancy in a 2505sqm site, and for the first time, the group’s portfolio will be interconnected.

“What’s going to be great about Melbourne is it will be the first location in the world to have all stores interconnected, which will allow the customer to shop every brand within the Williams-Sonoma portfolio.”

Following the success of the four store concept in Bondi Junction, Williams-Sonoma has replicated the format in New York.

“Since opening at Bondi Junction and New York, we’re finding the side by side strategy is key for the customer,” Hummell said.

Williams-Sonoma already has a presence in Melbourne, opening its fifth Australian store and second West Elm location on Chapel St last September.

Housed in a refurbished two-storey heritage building, the 744sqm store includes a West Elm Market coffee shop on the ground floor.

The group is currently recruiting for floor staff for Chadstone, with employees likely to be a mixture of new staff and existing employees from Bondi Junction.

“We’re looking at both. Currently we’re interviewing and trying to figure out what the best fit will be to to drive business.”

West elm chapel St market 2online

West Elm market, Chapel St, Melbourne


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