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Friday, January 26, 2007 

Williams Sonoma to be sold?

The Los Angeles Times and the Gourmet Retailer are reporting:
Williams-Sonoma Inc., the owner of kitchenware stores and the Pottery Barn home decor retail chain, has hired Goldman Sachs to explore strategic options, which could include the sale of the company, people familiar with the matter said Tuesday. Goldman declined to comment. San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma didn't return several calls seeking comment. Williams-Sonoma's contact with Goldman is seen to be in its early stages, and sources were not aware of any buyers at the doorstep. But sources said the company was expected to attract the interest of private equity firms drawn to its popular brand, cash flow and prime real estate.
I worked for Williams Sonoma for 4 years. The management was horrendous. Some of the managers were stealing, attacking sales associates, hoarding sale items until the lowest possible price for themselves and their friends, one even worked people over night without paying them. I reported these incidents to "corporate", and who got in trouble? Me for daring to question the managers. At least the worst of the lot was fired. Walked out of the store infront of everyone, to the relief of the employees.

The store used to have some great, original items, but now it just offers the same things that a hundred other stores offer up at lower prices. Many customers were returning items they purchased elsewhere and bringing it into WS for a refund/credit. Nice racket at the expense of the company.
The quality of the goods has decreased. Their customer base has decreased. (Sur la Table has been really been in hot pursuit and has been picking off customers little by little.)

We'll see what is in store for Williams Sonoma....the dream of one "foodie" named Chuck.

(photo by dougelwell)

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Very interesting post. I haven't shopped at Williams Sonoma in awhile. I've found you can get the same things at Target or Sur La Table at a much less price, just like you mentioned.

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