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Williams-Sonoma stores to help lift online sales: chief

Williams-Sonoma chief executive Laura Alber expects the upmarket homeware retailer’s Australian online and catalogue sales to rise after the opening of another four bricks-and-mortar stores next month.

Rather than cannibalising online and catalogue sales, Alber believes the new stores in Melbourne’s ­Chadstone shopping centre will drive Williams-Sonoma’s direct-to-consumer sales by building consumer trust in its brands and the quality of its products.

"What I can’t wait to understand is as we drop the stores in Melbourne, will direct to customer sales go up or down, will the stores cannibalise or not?" Alber told The Australian ­Financial Review during a whistle-stop tour of Williams-Sonoma’s Australian ­operations this week.