Big Revenues and Cheap Rent on the Web

May 27, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Williams-Sonoma’s online division has had revenues grow 53 percent in the last year and the company plans to build on this effort by further integrating its stores, catalog and
Internet businesses.

Patrick Connolly, executive vice president, chief marketing officer, Williams-Sonoma believes the Web offers the retailer the opportunity to expand selection of its store and
catalog offerings and reinforce the company’s image as a home products authority.

Mr. Connolly told the East Bay Business Times, “The Web is a store that can be very big, and the rent can be very cheap.” He added, “The site has had everything that’s
available in the catalog, and it has almost all the items that are available at retail, and it will have in the future a bigger assortment than either catalog or retail. In our
stores, when someone comes in, if we don’t have the good, we will, in the very near future, be able to order it for them off the Web site.”

Moderator’s Comment: What do you think of Williams-Sonoma’s plan to expand its catalog and store product selection online?

Williams-Sonoma also sees the Internet as a more viable means for reaching consumers than it has in the past according to Mr. Connolly. “Advertising in
that space has become somewhat more rational, and the different vendors and providers and portals are more realistic in terms of the value of that space.”
Anderson – Moderator

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