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Retailer West Elm expanding into hotels

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American homewares retailer West Elm will expand into the hospitality and travel industry with a range of hotels.

The chain, owned by Williams-Sonoma Inc., plans to begin opening the West Elm Hotels in late 2018 across at least 5 US locations.

West Elm’s president, Jim Brett, told The Wall Street Journal that he sees the boutique hotel chain as a way for the retailer to sustain its growth without opening more stores. The chain currently operates 93 stores across the US, Australia, Canada and the UK, and Brett says he doesn’t want to make the mistake of opening too many more.

The hotels will be built in partnership with hospitality management and development company DDK, and will feature design elements that reflect the location with traditional décor, crafts, cuisine and culture from the region.

“There is a growing desire among modern travellers to immerse themselves in the place they are visiting,” explains David Bowd, co-founder of DDK. “They want a boutique experience, and expect great, reliable service that caters to their needs.”

The hotels will be run with a focus on three tenets—wholehearted hospitality; distinctive, thoughtful design; and community connection—which will be reflected in the design, programming and overall guest experience.

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