The French beauty brand will be opening a new store at the downtown shopping centre and closing its former unit in Cornmarket. It’s believed that L'Occitane will be based at one of the empty units located on the Bonn Square side of Westgate Centre. On the other hand, suit and formal wear label Moss Bros is already set up at Westgate and has been based here since early June. Additionally, Fat Face is relocating from Cornmarket to Queen Street, only a few minutes’ away from Westgate Centre.
With the arrival of iconic beauty brand LOccitane and clothing retailers Fat Face and Moss Bros, the high street scene in Oxford is set for a well overdue revitalisation. The move of these retailers to Westgate Centre follows a large scale exodus of chains leaving one of the main shopping hubs in Oxford, namely Cornmarket. This area is where until very recently, retailers L'Occitane, Both Moss Bros, and Fat Face were based, but has been losing ground (as well as footfall and tenants) to alternative locations, primarily Westgate Centre and Queen Street. This positive trend stands in stark contrast with nationwide retail trends, which have been showing a sustained drop. The declining figures in the UK’s retail industry were at their most pronounced in May 2019, when sales dropped by more than 3 per cent.
The city’s retail scene has been experiencing rapid changes over the past two years, with the changes accelerating following the redevelopment of Westgate Centre in the last quarter of 2017. This £440 million project meant that Westgate quickly emerged into a thriving retail hub, as was downtown Oxford on the whole, which experienced an 8.9 per cent rise in visitor numbers during 2018. Queen Street has also made dramatic gains in footfall, increasing by almost 40 per cent in a single year.
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