IKEA, which we will always know as the world’s top paperboard dorm room furniture producer, has received a good bit of bad press recently for combining three things that do not go well together: food, horsemeat and “high levels of bacteria normally found in human and animal waste.”
While the Swedish retail giant works to recall its almond cakes from branches in more than 23 countries, its communications team would love to turn the public’s attention toward a slightly more encouraging development: a partnership with the Marriott hospitality chain which will help the company open a series of “budget” hotels across Western Europe over the next few years.
This move may surprise the public, but it’s hardly unprecedented: Inter Hospitality is a long-running subsidiary of IKEA’s parent company Inter IKEA. The new ventures, described as “low-cost, high-style“, will be known as Moxy Hotels and designed to appeal specifically to the “Millennial” crowd which has that deadly combination of discerning taste and low income. The inaugural branch of the chain is set to open in Milan in 2014 with as many as 50 locations to follow.
Will this move strengthen the larger IKEA brand? Sure–as long as they don’t make the cakes, the meatballs or the hotel furniture.