Thursday, 5 March 2015

Bicester Village 2015

In February the MSc Real Estate students went 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). Photos by Nina Xia.

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, Suzhou 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 (which included breakfast) and Q&A session (by Chris Harris, Director of Value Retail and Anna Keddie, Marketing Director for Value Retail) about the Bicester Village development.

Warming up...

Chic Outlet Shopping around the world. 

The presenters focused on the business strategy for Bicester Village and it's sister parks around Europe and in China and went on to talk about the proposed expansion of the development at Bicester Village. Last year it seemed that the expansion plans would go ahead unchallenged thanks to intervention by Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State who said in a letter (in 2013) that the plans did not “conflict with national policies” and made “significant long-term impact on economic growth”. However, there has been a lot of local opposition and plans have been delayed (by Tesco). The plans for expansion at Bicester Village depend on the demolition of the Tesco store (which has planing permission for a rebuild across the road) and herein lies the delay. Full plans for the expansion of Bicester Village have yet to be submitted.

On the coach to Bicester Village with Nick French.

Following the formal sessions, the students had time to indulge in some serious 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.

Retail therapy.

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

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