Williams-Sonoma is placing a heavier emphasis on proprietary products -- one is a smart thermometer that sends iPhone messages -- after seeing sales decline for five of the past seven quarters due to "showrooming," the consumer practice of looking at a product in-store before buying it cheaper online elsewhere. The chain is also adding cooking classes to make the stores more attractive to foodies. “People liked going into Williams-Sonoma and looking at the cool gadgets. That was 10 years ago, that is not today. These are things people can get just as good and cheaper elsewhere," said Michael Stone of Beanstalk, a brand licensing agency.
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