West Elm’s brand extension: Hotels

An interesting announcement recently about West Elm’s plan to open boutique hotels in selected cities…and here’s my take from a recent RetailWire discussion:

Part of West Elm’s stated motivation is to widen the brand footprint without opening too many brick-and-mortar stores. It’s a creative way to expand a lifestyle brand into a related business. (Of course there is the added benefit of filling several hotels with saleable product.)

Hotels have been in the ancillary business of selling their proprietary mattresses, bedding and towels for several years. This takes the concept into reverse gear, and it may turn out to be a brand expansion opportunity for West Elm’s parent, too — Williams Sonoma Kitchens inside West Elm Hotels, anyone?

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