First Williams-Sonoma Korea stores open

Williams-Sonoma has opened its first stores in Seoul, South Korea under its strategic franchise agreement with home goods retailer Hyundai Livart Furniture.

Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids opened a combined store and West Elm opened a store at Hyundai City Mall Garden 5. Williams Sonoma opened at Hyundai Department store Mokdong. These openings are the first of 30 stores from the Williams-Sonoma portfolio expected to open across South Korea over the next 10 years.

“This is an exciting milestone in our global expansion,” said Laura Alber, Williams-Sonoma president and CEO.

Hyundai Livart, an affiliate of Hyundai Department Store Group, operates Livart, Livart Neoce, Livart Ismine, Livart Kitchen, Livart Kids and H.Mondo.

The Korean launch follows Williams-Sonoma’s overseas forays into Canada, Australia and the UK, and the franchise of its brands to third parties in the Middle East, the Philippines and Mexico.

“By the end of this year Williams-Sonoma will be represented at more than 145 international retail locations,” said Ronald Young, executive VP, global of Williams–Sonoma. “As we begin our partnership with Livart opening our first four stores of many to come in South Korea, we look forward to the tremendous opportunity of continuing our global expansion.”

Hwa-Eung Kim, representative director and CEO of Hyundai Livart Furniture, said the company was looking forward to opening additional stores in Seoul and in other major cities across South Korea soon.

This October, the two companies will open a five-story flagship store in Nonhyun-dong, Seoul. The superstore will include Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, and West Elm, and will represent the first time three Williams-Sonoma brands are offered in a single standalone location. An additional Williams-Sonoma store will be opened in the Hyundai City Mall Daegu branch in the latter half of this year.

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