Williams-Sonoma‘s CEO says that the death of retail has been greatly exaggerated.
“I certainly don’t think we’re in the midst of a retail apocalypse,” CEO Laura Alber said at Recode’s Code Commerce event. “I do not believe that and I do not believe that Amazon is killing retailers. I believe retailers’ bad service is killing retailers.”
More than 6,400 store closures in the US have been announced so far in 2017. Many of these closures are brands, such as Sears, Radio Shack, and Payless, that have struggled to compete with swiftly growing e-commerce companies such as Amazon.
Alber said that Williams-Sonoma is investing in customer service to better compete as digital sales rise across the US.
“While Amazon does really so many things really well, have you ever tried calling them and asking them if they could please come refurnish your living room?” Alber said in a call with investors in late August. “It’s a big thing that we do and our customers really love that service.”
Same-store sales across Williams-Sonoma brands — which include Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and West Elm — grew 2.8% in the most recent quarter.
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