Williams Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) is a specialty retailer that sells high-quality products for the home. The San Francisco based firm owns several brands, including Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, Williams-Sonoma Home, and Rejuvenation. On July the 27th, the company announced the latest step in their business venture. The firm has entered into a strategic franchise agreement with the South Korean retailer Hyundai Livart Furniture.
Through the partnership, Williams-Sonoma has already opened a few stores in the country of South Korea. A joint Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids store opened at the Hyundai City Mall Garden 5. A West Elm store opened in the same facility. A Williams Sonoma store has also been opened at the Hyundai Department store Mokdong.
Williams-Sonoma Inc. confirms that this is just the start in a much bigger expansion into the country. They plan to open at least 30 stores from their brand portfolio across South Korea in the coming 10 years. President and Chief Executive Office for Williams-Sonoma, Laura Alber, admits the move is an exciting milestone for the company’s global expansion. “We are proud to open our first stores in Seoul and introduce our distinctive brands, excellent customer service, and exceptional products to customers in South Korea.”
The Executive Vice President, Global of Williams-Sonoma, Ronald Young, detailed the company’s international expansions. “We currently operate retail stores in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, and franchise our brands to third parties in a number of countries in the Middle East, the Philippines, and Mexico.” He went on to conclude that Williams-Sonoma will be represented by more than 145 international retail locations by the end of the year.
In October of 2017, Williams Sonoma and Livart plan to open a five-story flagship store in Nonhyun-dong, Seoul. The superstore will feature several stores from the Williams-Sonoma brand, including Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, and West Elm. Simultaneously, this will mark the first time three of the company’s brands are available in a single standalone location. During the latter half of this year, another Williams Sonoma store will open at the Hyundai City Mall Daegu branch.