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Retailers need to combine technology and personal service, Ethan Allen CEO says

  • As retail becomes more competitive, CEO of Ethan Allen Farooq Kathwari advises companies to combine technology and personal service.
  • Earlier this year, the furniture chain took that advice to heart by entering into a collaboration with Amazon.
  • Ethan Allen's stock has fallen about 23 percent year-to-date.

As retail becomes more competitive, CEO of furniture chain Ethan Allen Farooq Kathwari offered some advice for struggling companies.

"Today in retail, if you are a seller of a commodity, it's hard to have brick-and-mortar. So, what you have to do is, you have to really combine the best of technology, personal service, and creating a great experience," he told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Friday.

As that relates to his own company, Ethan Allen in April entered into a collaboration with Amazon to offer its products to the internet giant's shoppers.

Kathwari emphasizes the partnership's unusual structure.

"Our prices are exactly the same on our website and on Amazon. They basically act as a sales agent; we are the seller — we deliver the product," he said, noting that the partnership is unique because of Ethan Allen's vertically integrated structure.

Despite the new Amazon deal, Ethan Allen's stock has fallen 23 percent year-to-date, but that doesn't concern Kathwari.

"We believe that we should focus on running a business with great quality, great offerings... and not really consider the short-term thing of— what you call the stock price," he said.