Melbourne has once again proved a compelling location for retail brands and fashion houses, further evidenced by a brand-new Williams-Sonoma West Elm store located on Chapel Street.
A spirited city with an influential retail design scene, Melbourne seems like a natural choice for many international companies. President of West Elm, Jim Brett, feels confident that Melbourne will embrace the first company-owned, stand alone West Elm branch outside of North America.
“We are confident the broad assortment, globally-inspired aesthetic and engaging in-store experience of West Elm will appeal to the design savvy Melbourne customer,” Mr Brett said.
Williams-Sonoma is a global company with 590 stores worldwide. Known for its high quality, original and affordable home decorating goods, Williams-Sonoma West Elm offers a wide range of products and appeals to those redecorating their homes or just sprucing things up for spring.
In addition to creating 30 full-time and part-time jobs, the new West Elm store offers 744 square metres of retail space and will supply a free interior decor service, said Louise Asher, Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business. Some of the aforementioned jobs will go to baristas, as the ground floor will feature a West Elm Market cafe.
Ms Asher considers West Elm’s presence as more confirmation of Victoria’s healthy retail sector and strong presence in the market, and believes the store will enhance the already lively scene on the Chapel Street shopping strip.
According to Ms Asher, the Victorian Coalition Government has pledged its support to the retailers in Australia. For the past two years, the government has operated in conjunction with company management to help with planning approvals on the site.
Having a capital city retail strategy is a singular achievement, as no other state has embraced this approach to aiding the retail industry.
“The Coalition Government strongly supports the development of a new four year Retail Strategy 2013-2017 to reinforce Melbourne’s retail strengths across small, medium and large businesses in this most important industry,” Ms Asher said.
West Elm will be in good company, as a large variety of international brands, such as Bunnings, Ikea, Zara, Chanel and Prada, among others, have stores in Melbourne.