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WEST ELM MOVES EAST: West Elm, the home furnishings store that’s part of Williams-Sonoma, Inc., is the latest U.S. retailer to set up shop on British shores. On Thursday, the firm opened a 12,000-square foot store on London’s Tottenham Court Road that carries everything from quirky papier mache stags heads and owl-shaped candles to the brand’s plush sofas and bedding. Laura Alber, president and chief executive of Williams-Sonoma, Inc., described London as both “a great city” and “the gateway” to Europe.
“It’s a similar culture [to the U.S.] and Brits love to entertain — we thought we could bring something new to the market,” she said, noting that she believes West Elm is brand that resonates on a “global” level. Indeed, the London launch follows openings for West Elm in Sydney and Melbourne in Australia earlier this year, and Alber said the firm is also hunting for London locations for its Pottery Barn brand.
The two-story London store also houses a West Elm Market shop-in-shop that carries kitchenwares and food items, and has its own coffee shop. The space also features a gallery wall, which spotlights work from local artists sourced from the online marketplace Etsy, to chime with West Elm’s focus on handcrafted pieces.