The Download: Restoration Hardware’s multifaceted universe is set to expand even further thanks to a $105 million real estate investment in Aspen that will become an ecosystem of rentable guesthouses, upscale residences, a spa, and staff housing.
Why it Matters: RH has already forayed into hospitality, pairing its galleries with restaurants, wine bars, and cafes in cities such as West Palm Beach, Chicago, and New York, where plans to debut its first guesthouse—a 14-room, 25,000-square-foot space in the Meatpacking District—have been delayed until 2021 due to Covid-19. The home retailer has been a benefactor of the residential boom set off by the pandemic, reporting a nearly 25 percent increase in net revenue to $844 million in the most recent quarter, while its operating profit grew to $111.2 million. Retail brands such as West Elm, Shinola, Vipp, and Muji opening hotels has been an emerging trend in recent years, though RH says their concept is unique in that it doesn’t rely on a licensing model.
In Their Own Words: “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Guesthouse. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant. It doesn’t matter if it’s a residence deal. We might have a partner from a development point of view, but we will control it. We want to own it. We want it to be ours. We want to be great at it. And it’s hard to be great when you’re kind of licensing out parts of your business. No one’s going to care as much as you. No one’s going to love it as much as you,” says CEO Gary Friedman.
Surface Says: We were skeptical when RH first announced it was getting into the restaurant business, but their culinary concepts have been an unequivocal hit. Count us intrigued for Aspen.