Time Out Melbourne

After testing the water in Bondi, the US retailer has set its sights on Chapel Street

Oprah’s favourite things, Sex And the City’s “top-of-the-line cheese grater”, Monica from Friends’ best pot – you can grab it all at Williams-Sonoma.

The kitchenware and furnishings retailer has opened its first outlet outside the US last month, slapping together the high-end Williams-Sonoma flagship brand with subsidiaries Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and modern homewares adjunct west elm at the new, triple-level Exchange Building in Bondi Junction.

They’ve also got eyes on a Chapel Street location, likely taking over the old Politix spot next to Bridie O’Reilly’s with a west elm store in the second half of 2013.

Williams-Sonoma has become a running gag in US pop culture as an exemplar of slightly snooty and useless kitchen geegaws and expensive throw-rugs. Couples on American Dad, Frasier, and Weeds have all “registered at Williams-Sonoma”. Pottery Barn’s similar range is less pricey (see: ‘Barn’ in the name). By all accounts west elm’s furniture is slightly more chic and considerably more expensive than IKEA.

They’re expanding to Australia because almost half of their business comes from online sales, and Australia is the world’s second-largest e-commerce market. Why not try that accent table and grapefruit lavender hand soap before you buy?

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