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Williams-Sonoma inks partnership to open stores in the Middle East

San Francisco – Williams-Sonoma Inc. has entered into a multi-year franchise agreement with international retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya Co. W.L.L. to launch its six-nameplate portfolio of brands in the Middle East.

 The first four stores are expected to open in Dubai and Kuwait in 2010 and will include the Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids brands.

 “We believe there is a significant opportunity to extend the reach of our brands beyond North America and are thrilled to be doing so with the M. H. Alshaya organization,” said Howard Lester, chairman and ceo of Williams-Sonoma. “Alshaya is one of the preeminent retailers in the Middle East and their experience bringing leading retail brands into the region as well as their marketing expertise gives us great confidence in the long-term potential of this growth strategy.”

 M.H. Alshaya Co. works with more than 50 global retail brands and operates more than 1,700 stores across six divisions, with stores in 16 markets across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Cyprus, Russia and Poland. The company is the retail business segment of the Alshaya Group, which was founded in Kuwait in 1890 and also operates real estate, hotel and automotive business divisions.

 Added Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co.: “We are delighted and honored to have the opportunity to introduce the Williams-Sonoma Inc. portfolio of brands to the Middle East.”


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