Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

Craig Reed is SVP of Global Trade at Avalara, an automated tax compliance software provider.

Home furnishings and housewares retailer Williams-Sonoma is enjoying profitable growth in a competitive marketplace. What's its secret? Pat Connolly, chief strategy and business development officer for the San Francisco-based company, provided some insight into that question for the audience at NEMOA's directXchange Fall Conference in Groton, Conn. yesterday. Specifically, Connolly outlined six beliefs that Williams-Sonoma holds as integral to its success.

H&M is still betting on buildings and hedging with web stores, not vice versa. The fast-fashion empire added 374 new brick-and-mortar locations in the past year, bringing its tally to almost 3,200, according to the company. That's more than one new H&M store opened each day, as the Swedish retailer likes to point out, and there's a similar number of ribbon cuttings on the schedule this year, including its first stores in Australia, India and the Philippines. The average store is getting bigger by the day, too, as H&M extends its product line. 

Retailers are moving quickly to open new markets, enticed by double-digit growth and the global scale of international e-commerce. The appetite for U.S. brands is strong around the world, and the desire to shop online is growing at a tremendous clip.

Chic apparel and accessories retailer Tory Burch is leveraging digital channels to fuel its dynamic growth. In addition to its thriving e-commerce business, the retailer has opened company-owned brick-and-mortar stores in growing markets such as Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore, not to mention its wholesale presence in leading department stores such as Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom. Yet there's one constant within all these different channels: a commitment to providing customers the best experience possible.

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