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Williams-Sonoma

Companies

Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma

Consumer goods

Description

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is an American publicly traded consumer retail company that sells kitchen-wares and home furnishings. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States. The company has 625 brick and mortar stores and distributes to more than 60 countries with brands including Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, Williams Sonoma, Williams Sonoma Home, West Elm, Mark and Graham, and Rejuvenation. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. also operates through eight corresponding websites and a gift registry.

The company is one of the largest e-commerce retailers in the U.S., and one of the biggest multi-channel specialty retailers in the world. In 2019, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. was named as a Fortune 500 company for the first time in its history.

History

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. had its initial public offering in July 1983. One million shares were offered on the OTC Market at $23 a share. At the end of 1985, the company was generating over $51 million in sales. In September 1986, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. acquired Pottery Barn from Gap. The acquisition included Pottery Barn's 27 housewares stores located in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York for $6 million. The company's expansion led to the opening of its first distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1984. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. was one of the largest proprietary distributors in the Memphis area with 3.5 million square feet of distribution space.

From 1986 to 1989, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. grew by an average of 12 stores per year, bringing the total locations to over 100 stores in the U.S. It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange starting in 1998, while sales reached $1 billion for the first time.

The following year, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. launched its e-commerce websites. The company also launched Pottery Barn Kids, a spin-off of Pottery Barn that specializes in home furnishings for children.

The Pottery Barn brand further expanded with the launch of PBteen in early 2003. Pottery Barn extended its merchandising with the introduction of the Pottery Barn Bed & Bath and Pottery Barn Kids in Manhattan.

By 2009, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. was operating 610 stores with an annual revenue of over $3 billion. In May 2010, Lester retired, and Laura Alber was named CEO of the umbrella organization. Alber joined the company in 1995. She was active in building the Pottery Barn catalog and the development and launch of Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen. In November 2011, the company acquired Portland, Oregon-based Rejuvenation, a manufacturer and direct marketer of light fixtures and hardware with stores in Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles. The company launched a lifestyle brand offering personalized products, Mark and Graham, in November 2012.

Williams Sonoma's e-commerce sales were approximately 52 percent of its parent company's revenue of the first quarter of 2015.

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