Restoration Hardware CEO Defies ‘Conventional Wisdom’ That Retail Stores Are Dead
April 1, 2014

With retailers from Wal-Mart to Staples talking about building smaller stores, you'd think that's the direction the industry is heading. This is until you see what Restoration Hardware is doing. Restoration Hardware shares on Friday surged up to 14 percent in its biggest daily percentage gain since June after the retailer of luxury home furnishings erased fears that it would follow other retailers and report disappointing results after a shorter holiday selling season and wintry weather that led to store closings. Instead, it reported a fourth-quarter profit in line with its prior forecast.

Retailers Cash in as Students get Picky About Dorm Rooms
August 7, 2013

Those beer-crate nightstands and makeshift curtains are starting to disappear from U.S. colleges as retailers push more-upscale dorm furnishings for the back-to-school season. Dozens of retailers, from Target Corp and Williams-Sonoma Inc's Pottery Barn to boutique website Dormify.com, are marketing aggressively to the college crowd this year. Using oversized catalogs, social media and temporary stores set up near colleges, they are offering everything for the picture-perfect dorm room, including monogrammed towels, state-of-the art storage containers and color-coordinated curtains and pillows.

Did Retailers Show Mom Love With Online User Experience?
June 17, 2013

As the percentage of consumers buying online continues to steadily increase each year, I'd expect the emphasis put on website performance by retailers would also increase. Let's see how our highlighted retailers — 1-800-Flowers.com, Williams-Sonoma and J.C. Penney — performed for Mother's Day shoppers.

The Integrated Shopper
January 1, 2013

The sign of a great brand isn't only name recognition, but the image you get in your head when you hear the name. You should immediately feel something when the name is mentioned. The best brands allow you to see something as well. Distinct visual images should pop into your head at the mere mention of the name. Crate & Barrel, Dean & DeLuca and Williams-Sonoma are masters at this — three very recognizable names, each with a distinct brand positioning and an identifiable visual aesthetic. Because they're so good at what they do, it made it difficult to find weaknesses in their execution, but there are some. Let's take a close look to see how these three popular brands deliver across multiple sales channels.

Reinventing the Pop-Up Shop
December 1, 2012

As we're in the throes of the holiday shopping season, chances are you've stumbled upon a pop-up shop while out and about looking for the perfect gift. From Toys"R"Us to PB Teen (an offshoot of Williams-Sonoma) to GameStop, merchants are increasingly turning to the temporary retail spaces as a means to extend their store footprint without the burden of long-term lease commitments. Not quite here today, gone tomorrow, but you get the idea.

Williams-Sonoma Announces Launch of New Lifestyle Brand, Mark and Graham
November 8, 2012

Williams-Sonoma, the North America-based retailer that specializes in high-quality products for the home, today announced that it's launched its newest direct-to-customer brand, Mark and Graham, specializing in personalized gifts and accessories. As the newest brand to join the Williams-Sonoma portfolio, Mark and Graham will offer colorful and timeless products personalized with a choice of more than 50 custom monograms and creative type treatments. The brand will offer its products through an exclusive direct mail catalog and an e-commerce website.

Williams-Sonoma Debuts New Website
February 25, 2012

Williams-Sonoma announced the launch of Cultivate.com, a content site and online resource for kitchen inspiration and design. The new website provides information about kitchen design and remodeling in one single destination, offering consumers advice from kitchen experts, inspirational photos, recommendations for local kitchen professionals and unique planning tools. Part online design magazine, part community networking site, Cultivate.com is focused on providing information and inspiration for kitchen design and remodeling.