Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Chinese behind rise in centre’s success
THE growth of designer shopping outlet Bicester Village is being fuelled by a surge in visitors from China.
With plans for a major expansion of the site on track and visitor numbers expected to rise from 5.5 million in 2011 to 5.8 million this year, bosses believe nearly half of those coming from abroad to the Village hail from China.
And it has been estimated the Chinese made a total of 825,000 transactions at the outlet site last year.
Now managers at Bicester-based parent company Value Retail are looking to cash in by opening an outlet near Shanghai in 2014.
Bicester Village spokesman Miranda Markham said visitors to Bicester Village from China are up 70 per cent on last year.
She said: “The Chinese in particular are seeking a quintessential and authentic British experience and shopping at Bicester Village enables them to purchase from luxury brands as well as discovering the unique and diverse attractions of the region.”
The Chinese retail site, to be known as Suzhou Village, will be modelled on Bicester Village and will serve a catchment area of 40 million people.
In May, it was announced that Tesco and Bicester Village were joining forces in a project that could bring more than 3,500 jobs to Bicester.
Plans involve the supermarket opening up a new expanded store opposite its current position off the A41, while Bicester Village will open up up 30 new shops in its place.
Growing numbers of Chinese visitors are also having an impact on Oxford language schools, with one reporting an increase in Chinese students of more than 30 per cent, and on tourism in general.
Susi Golding, director of Visit Oxfordshire which runs the Oxford Tourist Information Centre in Broad Street, said: “We have noticed a huge increase in Chinese visitors this year and last.”
She added: “We are finding more Chinese people are wanting to take our walking tours of Oxford for instance, and we are considering taking on a Chinese speaking guide.
“Many Chinese people are also keen to find out about further study here.”
Victoria Moyle of English language school CES Embassy, said: “We have increasing numbers of Chinese students.
“This year we had 120 on two courses, up from about 90 last year.”
Comments are closed on this article.