Williams-Sonoma to launch spin-off

Multititle home goods cataloger/retailer Williams-Sonoma is going after less-upscale buyers. In April the San Francisco-based company will launch West Elm, a catalog of home decor items targeting consumers with a household income of around $50,000. Customers of Williams-Sonoma’s other titles, which include Pottery Barn, Chambers, and Hold Everything, typically have an average household income of more than $75,000.

Williams-Sonoma representatives were unavailable for comment. But Steve Trollinger, vice president of client marketing for Shawnee Mission, KS-based catalog consulting firm J. Schmid & Associates, believes that by affiliating West Elm with the Williams-Sonoma brand while offering lower-priced merchandise, the company can succeed. “From our experiences with spin-offs,” Trollinger says, “we know that those that have had success have leveraged off what they know about their customers and their purchasing patterns, as opposed to going for a completely new target audience.”

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