West Elm is focusing much of its global expansion on the U.K., opening a new store in the London suburb of Kingston-Upon-Thames last week, with more to follow next year, according to a report from British paper City AM.
West Elm, which will run its own stores in the U.K. rather than franchises, is finalizing property deals, according to Ron Young, executive vice president, global, at parent Williams Sonoma, who said that next year "there will be new things that come into London," according to City AM's report.
The West Elm brand also arrived in Ireland with a full-scale shop-in-shop in department store Arnotts in Dublin, Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura J. Alber told analysts last month, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.
West Elm is a fast-rising brand for Williams-Sonoma. In fact, Alber told analysts last month that it has the potential to become the company's "next $2 billion brand."
"West Elm, with its unique focus on the intersection of modern design affordability and community, continues to resonate with and attract the broadest demographic of customers within our brand portfolio," she said. "The [quarter three] revenue comp of 11.5% was driven by the strength in our furniture business and a reacceleration of our decorative accessories and lighting categories. We believe we have the strategies, momentum and white space to double West Elm revenues, and for it to potentially be our largest brand."
That title to the modern aesthetic is resonating in the U.K., Young told City AM, adding that the Londoners' sensibilities are much like New Yorkers' and that it helps that tourists are also familiar with and like the brand. He downplayed Brexit's role in the company's steady, but slow, expansion in the country, acknowledging that the uncertainty gave some "pause" but that the company is confident that solutions will be found.
Williams-Sonoma, which also runs the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and PBTeen brands, reported last month that Q3 net revenues grew 4.3% to $1.3 billion versus $1.25 billion in the same period last year, with same-store sales growing 3.3%, according to a company press release. E-commerce net revenues in the period rose 6.4% to $690 million from $649 million in the year-ago quarter, generating 53.1% of total company net revenues, up from 52.1% of total company net revenues in the year-ago period. West Elm same-store sales in the quarter rose 11.5%, on top of 12% growth in the year-ago quarter.