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Williams-Sonoma, Epicurious Make Recipe for Online Sales

By Mary Hillebrand ECT News Network
Jun 17, 1999 12:00 AM PT

Housewares retailer Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) Wednesday augmented its recent e-commerce launch with a new connection to cooking aficionados.

Williams-Sonoma, Epicurious Make Recipe for Online Sales

Epicurious Food, the home of Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines and an abundance of food and cooking information, has agreed to put Williams-Sonoma products on sale on its Web site.

According to the new partners, their agreement is not just another affiliate or anchor deal in which each site agrees to provide a link to the other. Epicurious Food will feature Williams-Sonoma products in its online content and recipes, with each product linked to a sales page.

The online sales at Epicurious Food will start this fall, with Williams-Sonoma handling all merchandising, fulfillment and commerce customer service, while CondeNet controls all content. The companies will split revenues from joint sales.

Epicurious Food and its sister site Epicurious Travel have a similar arrangement with barnesandnoble.com. The Epicurious sites feature their own pages for cookbooks and other items, while the sales are made by barnesandnoble.

CondeNet said it plans to continue creating such alliances with Internet retailers to capitalize on the widespread recognition of its 17 consumer magazines.

Benefits for Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma is looking at the deal as the first step toward a broader relationship with Epicurious owner CondeNet, an affiliate of Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines parent Conde Nast publishing. Williams-Sonoma products go beyond just kitchen utensils to many other rooms in the house. With Conde Nast magazines such as Architectural Digest, Bride's Magazine and House and Garden, the possibilities for further collaboration are easily conceivable. Neither company, however, is commenting on where they might go together after Epicurious Food.

While WeddingNetwork.com is extending its alliance with PRIMEDIA's Modern Bride Magazine this week, look for Williams-Sonoma to seek a quick alliance between its WSwedding.com site and CondeNast's Bride's Magazine to remain competitive. Bride's is already featured on Epicurious Travel, which shares a home page with the Epicurious Food site.

Williams-Sonoma launched its wedding planning site last week in a bid to grab some of the growing online registry business. The company put its housewares for sale online at the site and offers shoppers access to its in-store bridal registry, which is instantly updated after purchases from Williams-Sonoma stores, through its catalogs or on its Internet site.

Who's Who

Williams-Sonoma operates more than 300 retail stores, and five mail order catalogs, including Pottery Barn and Hold Everything.

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