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Williams-Sonoma may open virtual doors

The home furnishings retailer is expected to unveil its new Web store Monday, as well as show the first signs of its partnership with media giant Conde Nast.

    Williams-Sonoma is expected to unveil its new Web store Monday, as well as show the first signs of its partnership with media giant Conde Nast.

    The home furnishings retailer currently offers such items as flatware, food processors, and baking dishes to customers of its online wedding registry. On Monday, the company will open up such sales to the general public, both through its site and through Epicurious, Conde Nast's online food site.

    Company representatives declined to comment.

    With the launch of its site, Williams-Sonoma will join a host of upscale brick-and-mortar retailers that have recently jumped online. In the last two weeks, Banana Republic launched a Web store, Nordstrom.com opened the doors of its virtual shoe store, and Dayton Hudson introduced beta sites for its Dayton's, Hudson's, and Marshall Field's chains.

    All have rushed to get online in time for what's expected to be a record-breaking holiday sales season. Meanwhile, other traditional retail leaders have decided to sit this year out. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Best Buy recently announced they will not expand their Web stores until early next year.

    Williams-Sonoma opened its bridal and gift registry in June, teaming with gift registry site Della & James. That same month, the company announced its relationship with Epicurious.

    As part of the deal, Epicurious readers will have one-click access to Williams-Sonoma's Web store, and Epicurious will promote Williams-Sonoma's products on its site.