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Ashley Furniture opens first China store in Shanghai

SHANGHAI — Ashley Furniture celebrated the grand opening of its first store in China here today, a 35,000-square-foot showroom that signals a new push by the company to open stores globally.

 Ashley Furniture, Shanghai, ChinaAshley CEO Todd Wanek, left, and company Chairman Ron Wanek officially open the first Ashley store in China, in Shanghai.

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.

See the May 21 print issue of Furniture/Today for a detailed Q&A between Wanek and Furniture/Today Editor-in-Chief Ray Allegrezza on Ashley's global retail strategy.

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