- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Although London may be the UK’s main retail destination, the city is in for some serious competition - Oxford. Thanks to the development of Westgate Oxford, the largest new retail and leisure destination to open in the UK in October 2017, the west end of Oxford is set to undergo significant transformation to become a leading UK retail destination.
“Whilst Oxford is home to a select number of national and international retail brands, data shows that it is still number one on the wish list of cities that retailers want to secure space,” explains Naomi Howard, leasing director at Westgate Oxford to FashionUnited. “Up until the development of Westgate Oxford, brands haven’t been able to get the right presence in the city because the current size and format of the units on offer hasn’t met the modern requirements needed for these retailers to truly thrive. Our ambition with Westgate Oxford is to create spaces that provide the flexibility and experience that we know retailers expect.”
Westgate to transform the retail offering in Oxford
The new shopping and leisure centre, set to span 800,000 square feet, has been designed by four world-class architects, who have been inspiration for the shopping centre from the city's historic surroundings. At the moment, Westgate Oxford has already secured 51 percent let, with over 35 brands and retailers having committed to opening units. Managed by Land Securities, the largest commercial property company in the UK, Westgate Oxford aims to completely transform the fashion retail offering in Oxford. Leading fashion retailers set to open stores in Westgate Oxford include H&M owned retailers Cos and & Other Stories, US retailers Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as UK-based department store John Lewis and Ted Baker. In total, 24 international and national fashion retailers have signed up to open in Westgate.
“This demand is testament to Westgate’s unique offering and the strength of Oxford: a large, affluent catchment and an as yet unfulfilled retail potential set in the heart of a historic, world-class city,” adds Howard. “Oxford is a unique city which combines its dreaming spires and ancient heritage with a modern edge, creating a rare proposition for consumers and retailers. The opportunities offered by the Westgate, together with the city as a whole, will ensure that Oxford can offer a strong blend of well-known names and international retailers, as well as local independent stores, creating a unique proposition for shoppers.”
"We are currently predicting circa 15 million people will visit Westgate Oxford each year”
And Oxford is certainly no stranger to shoppers. The city of Oxford attracts 9.5 million tourists per year, generating a total of 180 million pounds in annual spend. In addition, Oxford is home to 30,000 British and international students who attend the Oxford University and Oxford Brookes, spending approximately 40 million pounds per year. Combine this with the spend from residents in the city and the affluent areas across the Southeast whose average household spend is above the regional average, the potential average spend counts over 600 million pounds - making Oxford City a very attractive proposition for fashion and luxury retailers alike.
“We are currently predicting circa 15 million people will visit Westgate Oxford each year,” continues Howard. “With a steady footfall and diverse customer base, we are confident the new Westgate Oxford will significantly boost fashion spend in the area and allow customers to enjoying shopping and eating out alongside the historic setting. Once Westgate Oxford opens in October 2017, total retail spend will exceed 1 billion pound market potential, including residential, worker and tourist spend.” In addition to featuring the best of British and international brands, including a 140,000 square foot John Lewis department store, Westgate Oxford aims to offer shoppers a “seamless” shopping and leisure experience, thanks to the addition of a boutique Curzon cinema, a rooftop dining experience and local bookseller Blackwells.
“This complementary leasing approach to our newest destination in Oxford ensures that, not only will we offer visitors a day-to-night experience to shop, eat and socialise, it will also benefit our brands, who will see increased footfall, dwell time and ultimately consumer spend.”
Photos: CGI of Westgate Oxford, courtesy of Westgate Oxford