Williams-Sonoma says 'g'day' to international expansion in Australia

SAN FRANCISCO — Williams-Sonoma is betting it can replicate its highly successful formula internationally, with the opening of new stores in Sydney, Australia.

The company has signed a lease for approximately 22,000 square feet of retail space to house four of its brands, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, and West Elm at the newly constructed Exchange Building in Sydney, Australia, at Bondi Junction. The four stores, currently slated to open in early fiscal 2013, are the first retail locations outside of North America to be owned and operated by the retailer as part of its overall global expansion strategy.

“I’m thrilled to continue our global expansion by opening our first Australian locations in Sydney,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO, Williams-Sonoma Inc. “We have spent a great deal of time looking for the right location and believe that the Exchange Building possesses the key elements for success. It offers us a central shopping location with easy access for pedestrians and commuters, as well as the perfect amount of space to introduce our brands to Australia.”

Williams-Sonoma announced the expansion plans shortly after reporting strong sales and earnings growth for its fiscal second quarter.

The company reported net revenue growth of  7.3% to $874 million in the second quarter 2012 from $815 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2011. Comparable-brand revenue increased 7.4%.

Diluted earnings per share increased 16% to 43 cents for the quarteer versus 37 cents for the same period last year.

Alber commented, “Our momentum entering the third quarter remains strong, and we are well-prepared to execute our second-half strategies. While pleased with the progress we have made in the first half of this year, we believe it is prudent to remain cautious given the continuing uncertainties in the economy.”