Monday, 3 February 2014

Bicester Village Field Trip 2014

It's the end of January and the MSc Real Estate students have been on the annual field trip to the international shopping destination that is Bicester Village (which is now nearly 20 years old and more successful than ever).

Even the car parks are pristine - photo taken at Bicester Village by Eloise Jackson

Bicester Village is one of a number of Chic Outlet Shopping® Villages that are operated and owned by Value Retail. The collection of Chic Outlet Shopping® Villages (also available in close proximity to Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich and Shanghai) is defined by its luxury brands and open-air ‘village’ settings.

Nick French (MSc Programme Director ) took the students to look at the development from a property/planning viewpoint and to see the links between the physical asset and the business. The students attended a presentation and Q&A session (by Chris Harris, Director of Value Retail and Anna Keddie, Marketing Director for Value Retail) about the Bicester Village development.

The presenters focused on the business strategy for Bicester Village and it's sister parks around Europe and (soon) in China and went on to talk about the proposed expansion of the development and the support of the local community in helping in its success. The recently approved plans for the expansion of Bicester Village include the development of 28 new shops and £11 million worth of road improvements to (hopefully) cut chronic congestion at peak times, and pave the way for a new business park at the site which is expected to create 3,000 new jobs. Read more about the plans and how they managed to dodge a potential delay from the Department for Communities and Local Government here.

In 2011 Bicester Village was awarded the British Council of Shopping Centres Gold Award for 'The Best Established Centre' which basically means that Bicester Village was recognised by the industry as the leading established retail destination in Britain.

However, there are plans afoot that could create a serious rival at the O2 - take a look at the following reports for more information...

Following the formal sessions, the students had time to indulge in a little retail therapy and experience the development from a consumers' point of view, although as budding property experts, they were no doubt thinking about tenant mix, pedestrian flows, demographics and the efficient use of space as they enjoyed their shopping experience.

PS: Bicester is also set to become the location of the UK's first eco town. Take a look at the North West Bicester website for more information.

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