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Ashley celebrates first China store in Shanghai

SHANGHAI - Ashley Furniture celebrated the grand opening of its first store in China here this month, a 35,000-square-foot showroom that signals a new push by the company to open stores globally.
     Ashley says it plans to roll out 1,000 stores in China during the next decade as well as stores elsewhere in Asia and in the Americas, Africa and the Middle East.
     Company CEO Todd Wanek told Furniture/Today that Shanghai was chosen as the location of the first China store because of the international nature of the city. He added that after doing extensive consumer research in China and other countries, including more than 15,000 interviews with targeted consumers, and more than 30 years of experience doing business in Asia, the company is ready to pursue a global retail strategy.
     While the new Shanghai store is the "ideal" size, Wanek said, the square footage in other locations in China and internationally will vary based on real estate availability and the size of the market.
     Home furnishings offered in the stores will be designed to appeal to local tastes and scale requirements - many Chinese live in small apartments, for instance - and the merchandise mix also will be adjusted, he said.

DancingDancing dragons help Ashley officials celebrate the opening of the new Shanghai store.
The entrance to the Shanghai store is decorated with flowers for the opening.
The entrance
Ashley ChairmanAshley Chairman Ron Wanek, third from left, is surrounded by his family as he celebrates his birthday during the store opening celebration dinner.
An area of the store offers home furnishings for children’s rooms.
An area of
FurnitureFurniture in the store is designed and scaled to appeal to local consumers’ tastes.
Shoppers try the chairs in the store’s home theater seating gallery.
Shoppers try
The store includesThe store includes a bedding and sleep accessories area.
Colorful displays of accessories highlight a key category for the store. The company says it is offering more accessories in its China stores both to drive sales and to appeal to consumers who may not be able to afford new furniture.
Colorful displays

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