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Stocks W / Williams-Sonoma


Subject:  WSM writeup Date:  10/7/2006  7:16 PM
Author:  etalian Number:  120 of 123


Company – Williams-Sonoma
Ticker – WSM (NYSE)
Industry – Retail: Home Decor
Market Cap - $3.7 billion: Mid-cap


Fifty years ago, Chuck Williams opened up a store in Sonoma, CA aptly naming it Williams-Sonoma. Today, Williams-Sonoma has grown into a multi-channel portfolio of retail stores focusing on “enhancing customer's lives at home.” During that time W-S acquired or created several other brands including Pottery Barn and all its spin offs (e.g. Potter Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Bed + Bath, & PBteen), Hold Everything, and West Elm. At the beginning of 2006, WSM operated 570 retail stores represented by 254 Williams-Sonoma, 188 Pottery Barn, 89 Pottery Barn Kids, 8 Hold Everything, 12 West Elm, 3 Williams-Sonoma Home, and 16 Outlet stores.

The Williams-Sonoma stores sell kitchen essentials and accessories. The products are high quality and priced as such, making William-Sonoma kitchen products a must have for most upper-middle class American housewives. They offer in store demos and cooking classes to help sell products and educate customers. The customer service is top notch according to the customers I interviewed. Pottery Barn sells furniture and home accessories with a classic, muted, country style. They are considered the industry standard in home décor. The product quality is somewhere between the low cost retailers (e.g. Target) and the individual mom & pop furniture stores, although the products are priced closer to the high end market. WSM is developing a new store b