retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports on how "the hotel business is diversifying," as "more travelers are seeking homey surroundings at Airbnb and HomeAway and turning to boutique hotels for their non-cookie-cutter designs. (According to STR, a hotel research firm, domestic occupancy rates in boutique hotels rose to 75 percent in 2015 from 67 percent in 2010.) That is one reason some retailers and designers see an opening for their hotel concepts."

Williams-Sonoma-owned West Elm is walking through that opening. The retailer, which "sells modern furniture and accessories online and in nearly 90 stores nationwide, has created model hotel rooms. Next year, it expects to begin opening boutique hotels in five cities, including Detroit, Charlotte, N.C., and Savannah, Ga." The company also is said to be "looking to create a network of local artists at each location who would display their work at the hotels."

Another example: "Tommy Hilfiger, whose designs include apparel, luggage and linens sold at Macy’s, Kohl’s and online, purchased the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach in 2014 and is developing it in conjunction with the Dogus Group, a Turkish conglomerate. Mr. Hilfiger is scouting a second location in Los Angeles."

You can read the entire story here.

It is interesting to see where disruption is coming from ... and ought to wake food retailers up to the possibility that at some point they may find themselves competing with an unexpected entity. Eataly, from Mario Batali, is an upscale example ... but is it possible that some celebrity chef or well-known restaurant could start a food market or chain with more mainstream appeal?
KC's View: