Japanese lifestyle brand Muji has announced plans to open hotels in Japan and China in an initiative that builds on the notion of brands reaching beyond their traditional domains (see Elastic Brands: Stretch & Diversify).
The first will open in the financial district of the Chinese city of Shenzhen in late 2017, with 79 rooms, a restaurant, a fitness centre, and a Muji store on the ground floor. In spring 2019, the brand will open a hotel above its upcoming flagship in the shopping district of Ginza, Tokyo. Once completed, the store will be Muji’s biggest to date. The first six levels will be devoted to retail, with guest rooms on the top floors.
Continuing to trade on the backbone of its existing brand DNA, some of the furniture and products in the hotels will be available to buy online. This echoes US furniture brand West Elm, which is scheduled to launch 10 hotels across the US in 2018 featuring its own products as well as locally relevant pieces (see West Elm Goes Glocal with Hotel for more). Details on how Muji guests will be able to ‘shop the hotel’ are yet to be disclosed.
The move is likely to be a canny one, providing Muji with access to the booming hospitality market (global hotel transactions rose nearly 50% to $85bn in 2015 – JLL, 2016) and enticing customers who increasingly value the chance to try before they buy.
For more on the benefits of combining retail with hospitality, see Retail x Hospitality 2017: Mutual Brand Benefits.