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Williams-Sonoma

Specialty kitchen and furniture retailer.

Headquarters:
3250 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94109
Employees: 7,200
CEO: Laura Alber
Stock Symbol: WSM

Website: http://www.williams-sonomainc.com

Career Site

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a specialty retailer of high-quality products for the home. The company sells products through eight different brands: Williams-Sonoma (cookware and wedding registry), Pottery Barn (furniture and wedding registry), Pottery Barn Kids (kids' furniture and baby registry), PBteen (girls' bedding and boys' bedding), West Elm (modern furniture and room decor), Williams-Sonoma Home (luxury furniture and decorative accessories), Rejuvenation (lighting and hardware) and Mark and Graham (personalized gifts and gifts for the home) -- are marketed through seven e-commerce websites, eight direct mail catalogs and 585 stores.

The company operates: 248 Williams-Sonoma stores; 194 Pottery Barn stores; 81 Pottery Barn Kids stores; 58 West Elm stores; and 4 Rejuvenation stores.

The company said it plans to open a total of 31 new stores and close 22 locations in fiscal 2014.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. currently operates in the United States, Australia, UK and Canada, offers international shipping to customers worldwide, and franchises its brands in Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

Williams-Sonoma reported Fiscal 2013 revenues of $4.38 billion, up from $4.04 billion in 2012, with net income of $256.7 million. Pottery Barn generated $1.91 billion in revenues, up 10.4%. Williams-Sonoma had revenues of $978 million, up 1.3%.

Laura Alber, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Williams-Sonoma, Inc. outperformed the retail industry this holiday season, gaining market share and demonstrating the structural advantage of our multi-brand, multi-channel platform. The strength of our brands across retail and e-commerce, in conjunction with disciplined execution, enabled our team to drive record operating results."

History

In 1947 Chuck Williams arrived in Sonoma, CA with the idea of building homes first as a contractor, later as the owner of a hardware shop and finally as the founder of the first Williams-Sonoma store for cooks.

In 1953, Chuck and a couple of these friends traveled to Paris and were introduced to classic French cooking equipment -- specialized items like omelet pans and soufflé molds whose quality he'd never seen in the U.S.

When Chuck returned from Europe he decided he wanted to do something different with his life. So, in 1954 he purchased a hardware store in downtown Sonoma with the intention of converting it into a store specializing in French cookware. Within two years the shovels and electrical tape had been replaced with copper pans and chef's knives and the first Williams-Sonoma store was born.

Many of Williams-Sonoma's first customers lived in nearby San Francisco. As word of the store spread, it became apparent that a move to the city would allow Chuck to introduce more people to the cookware he had discovered overseas. The location he chose was just a couple blocks from Union Square, the center of San Francisco's shopping district.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. was established in 1972 and the company began opening new stores. The company went public in 1983.

The company acquired Pottery Barn in 1986.

Benefits

The company's benefit package includes a generous associate discount; paid vacations and holidays; health, life and travel insurance; short- and long-term disability programs; health and dependent care tax-free spending accounts; tax-free commuter benefits; medical, family and bereavement leave; an employee assistance program; same-sex domestic partner benefits; and a 401(k) plan.

Updated March 18, 2014