Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

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Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
S&P 400 Component
Headquarters3250 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Number of locations
625 (2018[2])
Key people
Revenue$8.24 billion (2021[5])
$1.45 billion (2021[5])
$1.12 billion (2021[5])
Total assets$4.62 billion (2021[5])
Total equity$1.66 billion (2021[5])
Number of employees
28,200[6] (2019)

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is an American publicly traded consumer retail company that sells kitchenware and home furnishings.[7] It is headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States.[8] The company has 625 brick and mortar stores and distributes to more than 60 countries, with brands including Williams Sonoma, Williams Sonoma Home, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, West Elm, Mark and Graham, and Rejuvenation.[9][10] Williams-Sonoma, Inc. also operates through eight corresponding websites and a gift registry.[11]

The company is one of the largest e-commerce retailers in the U.S.,[7] and one of the biggest multi-channel specialty retailers in the world.[9] In 2019, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. was named as a Fortune 500 company for the first time in its history.[12]


Post Street Store Front

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. had its initial public offering in July 1983. One million shares were offered on the OTC Market at $23 a share.[13] At the end of 1985, the company was generating over $51 million in sales.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]

The following year, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. launched its e-commerce websites.[17][18] The company also launched Pottery Barn Kids, a spin-off of Pottery Barn that specializes in home furnishings for children.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22] The company launched a lifestyle brand offering personalized products, Mark and Graham, in November 2012.[23]

Williams Sonoma's e-commerce sales were approximately 52 percent of its parent company's revenue of the first quarter of 2015.[24]

West Elm[edit]

The West Elm brand was launched in 2002 with the release of a catalog;[25] the following year, the brand opened its first store.[26] Through the West Elm brand, the company launched West Elm Hotels.[27] The joint venture will be done with DDK, which is a hospitality management and development company.[27] Locations:

The West Elm brand is active with the Clinton Global Initiative and in 2013 agreed to invest $35 million on hand made goods from U.S. and abroad to sell in its stores over the course of two years. The collaborations were aimed to positively impact over 4,000 artisan workers.[28] Former President Bill Clinton visited a West Elm showroom after the company spent nearly that amount in the first year of the agreement.[29] In 2015, the company made a pledge at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting to expand its Fair Trade Certified product offerings.[30]

International presence[edit]

In October 2001, the company opened its first international stores in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[31] The Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn stores in Yorkville occupied a combined 37,000 square feet of space at the retail podium of the 100 Bloor Street West condominium; these stores closed in 2017 after the landlord substantially raised rents in 2014.[32]

The preserved façade of the former University Theatre, which was the site of the first Canadian stores of Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma from 2001 to 2017

In 2008, the company opened Pottery Barn and West Elm stores at Plaza Las Americas in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, a district of the capital San Juan.[33]

In 2010, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. partnered with M.H. Alshaya Co. to launch Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids franchise operations in the Middle East.[10] The first Williams-Sonoma brand store outside of North America opened in Kuwait in 2012, along with West Elm at The Avenues Mall, the largest shopping center in Kuwait. The company also opened four stores (Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, and West Elm) in Australia as the first retail locations outside of North America owned and operated by Williams-Sonoma, Inc.[10]

The company opened its first store in the United Kingdom in 2014 with the launch of its West Elm location in London.[34] Williams-Sonoma, Inc. signed a franchise agreement in 2014 to begin opening stores and operating its e-commerce sites for six of its brands in Mexico.[35] In the same year, the company also opened Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids stores with a franchise partner in the Philippines.[36]


Under the umbrella organization of Williams-Sonoma, Inc., the company's brands are:[11]

  • Williams Sonoma – upscale products for the kitchen and home
    • Williams Sonoma Home – upscale home furnishings
  • Pottery Barn – home furnishings
    • Pottery Barn Kids – home furnishings for children
    • PBteen – home furnishings for young adults
  • West Elm – modern furniture and home decor
  • Rejuvenation – light fixtures, hardware and home furnishings
  • Mark and Graham – monogrammed gifts and accessories

"Made in USA" settlement[edit]

In March 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement with Williams-Sonoma, Inc. over false advertising claims where Goldtouch Bakeware products, Rejuvenation-branded products, and Pottery Barn Teen and Pottery Barn Kids-branded upholstered furniture products were falsely advertised as being made in the USA. As part of the settlement with the FTC, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. agreed to stop making false, misleading or unsubstantiated "Made in USA" claims and is required to pay $1 million to the FTC.[37][38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Corporate Information -Business Profile". Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  2. ^ "Number of stores of Williams-Sonoma worldwide 2009-2018". Statista. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  3. ^ "Shopping catalogs making a comeback". CBS News. March 19, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "Executive Biographies". Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Williams-Sonoma, Inc. announces record fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 results".
  6. ^ "Williams-Sonoma Number of Employees 2006-2019". www.macrotrends.net. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Lee, Thomas (April 3, 2015). "Williams-Sonoma is America's best retailer — online and in store". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  8. ^ Flynn, Ryan (May 3, 2011). "Williams-Sonoma whips up new strategy". Seattle Times. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Laura Alber will become CEO of Williams-Sonoma in May". Furniture Today. January 27, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Frojo, Renée (November 30, 2012). "Williams-Sonoma accelerating global growth". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Company Profile". Hoovers. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Named to the Fortune 500 List of America's Largest Companies". www.bloomberg.com. May 16, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Fisher, Lawrence M. (July 30, 1986). "A Store for the Gourmet Cook". New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  14. ^ Palley, Robin (September 16, 1986). "Pottery Barn Sold To Calif. Firm". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  15. ^ Miller-Morton, Kate (November 2, 2003). "Williams-Sonoma eyes Pattillo center". Memphis Business Journal. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  16. ^ "Williams-Sonoma expands". San Francisco Business Times. June 2, 1998. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  17. ^ Hillebrand, Mary (June 17, 1999). "Williams-Sonoma, Epicurious Make Recipe for Online Sales". Tech News World. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  18. ^ Tedeschi, Bob (November 1, 1999). "E-Commerce Report; All that some retailers want before Christmas is a functional site". New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  19. ^ Koncius, Jura (March 23, 2000). "Targeting Tweens- Retailers are Homing In on the Next Generation". Washington Post. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  20. ^ Rohrlich, Marianne (November 9, 2006). "Currents:Who Knew?; Bed and Bath and Children's Stores Expand Pottery Barn's Domain". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  21. ^ Tong, Vinnee (January 26, 2010). "Williams-Sonoma says longtime CEO Lester to retire". Boston.com. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  22. ^ Francis, Mike (November 4, 2011). "Williams-Sonoma buys Portland's Rejuvenation Inc., plans growth". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  23. ^ "Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Announces the Launch of New Lifestyle Brand, Mark and Graham". BusinessWire. November 8, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  24. ^ "Williams-Sonoma, Inc. announces first quarter 2015 results Net revenues grow 5.8% with comparable brand revenue growth of 4.6%". MarketWatch. May 20, 2015. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  25. ^ Fulmer, Melinda (July 16, 2005). "New Store Chain Is Hoping Everyone Will Feel at Home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  26. ^ Combs, Heath E.; Sloan, Carole (December 8, 2003). "Williams-Sonoma launches West Elm store in Brooklyn". Furniture Today. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  27. ^ a b Arnott, David A. (September 26, 2016). "West Elm bets its brand will draw guests to a new hotel chain". American City Business Journals.
  28. ^ Hickman, Matt (September 26, 2013). "8 Handsome Home Goods From The West Elm Handcrafted Collection". Mother Nature Network. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  29. ^ Berfield, Susan (June 20, 2014). "In Charitable Checkup at West Elm, Bill Clinton Rubs Some Fair-Trade Rugs". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  30. ^ Azzato, Maureen (October 1, 2015). "West Elm Pledges 40 Percent Fair Trade Assortment by 2019". Home Furnishings News. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  31. ^ Saddleton, Lucy (October 22, 2001). "TAXI imprints Williams-Sonoma top-drawer status". Strategy. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  32. ^ "Williams Sonoma Exits Mink Mile Ahead of Hermès Relocation". RETAIL INSIDER. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  33. ^ Frances, Ryan (August 2, 2007). "west elm also coming to Plaza Las Americas". Vol. 35, no. 30. Caribbean Business. p. 7.
  34. ^ Harrison, Nicola (April 26, 2013). "US homewares giant Williams-Sonoma to land in UK with West Elm store on Tottenham Court Road". Retail Week. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  35. ^ Brohan, Mark (October 3, 2014). "Williams-Sonoma takes its e-commerce operation south of the border". Internet Retailer. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  36. ^ Frojo, Renée. "Gap, Williams-Sonoma open in Philippines". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  37. ^ Kreidler, Jim (April 1, 2020). "Williams-Sonoma: Made in the USA?". Federal Trade Commission. Archived from the original on April 4, 2020. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  38. ^ Joseph J. Simons, Chairman. "Complaint" (PDF). ftc.gov. Federal Trade Commission. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 4, 2020. Retrieved May 23, 2020. The acts and practices of Respondent as alleged in this complaint constitute unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

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