SUMMERTOWN is one of the most sought-after shopping locations in Britain, a new report has found.

In the second half of 2014, just two shops or cafes out of 104 in the North Oxford suburb were empty, ranking it among the 10 places with the least vacancies.

And according to firms, business at shops, restaurants and cafes is booming.

Fabien Gautier, manager and company director of Banbury Road patisserie Gatineau, said: “It is a vibrant area and there is a lot of support for the independent shops. Business is booming.”

The report published yesterday by The Local Data Company said areas in the south east had an average vacancy rate of 10.9 per cent among retail and leisure businesses.

But in Summertown, just 1.9 per cent of shops and cafes in the area were vacant, a reduction from 2013 of 1.8 per cent, the report said.

Oxford had a vacancy rate of 5.7 per cent and the area in Oxfordshire with the most vacant units was Banbury, with a rate of 13 per cent.

Director of the firm, which monitors 3,000 town and shopping centres and retail parks, Matthew Hopkinson said the success of certain areas was often affected by the wealth of the residents.

He said: “Older people who are retired may want somewhere more community focused where they can have small shopping trips and mums might want somewhere they can park and visit a supermarket.

“There are other examples like Bicester, which has Bicester Village. That is an exemplar of what people want these days. There is free parking, a good mix of luxury and value brands and also places for them to eat.”

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When the Oxford Mail asked people shopping in Summertown why they liked the area, they said it was due to the variety.

Abingdon grandmother Jean Andrew, 74, said: “Oxford needs a bit of a clean up.

Summertown is a nicer location and has better shops.”

Dr Joseph Cooper of Wolvercote, 73, said: “The variety here is very good and you have most of the supermarket chains as well.”

But Earthwatch employee Anthony Strong, of Rose Hill, said he preferred shopping at the Templars Square Shopping Centre in Cowley.

Mr Strong, 57, said: “It’s a very expensive area and people tend to have more money than sense.”


  • Great Britain – 11.8% (-0.5%)
  • England – 11.7% (-0.4%)
  • South East – 10.9% (-0.8%)
  • Oxford – 5.7 % (+0.2%)
  • Summertown – 1.9% (-1.8%)
  • Witney – 3.8% (+0.3%)
  • Bicester – 7% (+1.4%)
  • Banbury – 13% (-0.2%)
  • Abingdon – 10.1% (-2.3%)
  • Didcot – 6.5% (-0.1%)
  • Wantage – 8.8% (-4%)

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