Westgate rival says new mall is boosting business not stealing it
While existing operators of shopping centres and retail parks, plus landlords of town centre stores, regularly protest against plans for new malls nearby, it appears that the opening of the Westgate Centre has actually helped neighbouring stores.
The Oxford Supermall opened in October and a manager at the existing city centre Clarendon Centre said she has seen a foot traffic uplift since Westgate’s debut.
Clarendon has 30 stores, which include a large H&M branch on three levels as well as Zara, Gap, French Connection, Ann Summers and The Body Shop. There had been fears that H&M would close the Clarendon store after also opening at Westgate, but last month the company, which has eyed closures for underperforming stores, said it remained committed to the centre.
Clarendon manager Ginny Fellows told local press that following the opening of the £440 million Westgate Centre, footfall on Cornmarket, the street where one of the Clarendon’s entrances is located, were up 13% in early December. She said it looks like the Westgate opening has been “very positive” for city centre retailers as it encourages more consumers into the area generally.
Oxford is already a major tourist attraction, as well as having a huge young consumer demographic.
“Oxford is such a uniquely beautiful and historic city, its wealth of charms is strong enough to encourage shoppers to extend their visit beyond one location; and that’s what we’re finding,” Fellows added.
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