Lingerie brands strap themselves in for Oxford retail venture

Five major lingerie retailers opened stores at the new Westgate Oxford Development this morning.

Ann Summers, Boux Avenue, Calvin Klein Underwear and Pink by Victoria’s Secret opened their doors to shoppers for the first time alongside more than 200 other brands.

Department store chain John Lewis also opened its 120,000ft2 store at the £440m development, unveiling its latest take on 21st century customer experience as it looks to “reinvent the department store”.

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Services and experiences, from bra fittings and nail bars to gift lists and eye tests, take up a fifth of the floorspace at the store and service staff working at a central “experience desk” led by a “brand experience manager” will take a concierge-style role as they help customers plan their day.

Paula Nickolds, managing director at John Lewis said: “As part of our plans to differentiate the John Lewis brand and to reinvent the department store for the 21st century, our shops continue to be a place where customers come and experience our brand – the physical manifestation of what we stand for.

“More than a route to selling things, our Oxford shop is a place that aims to inspire and delight our customers and is entirely focused on customer experience with Partners and finishing details at the heart of that.”

Boux Avenue CEO Theo Paphitis commented: “Oxford is a fantastic University city with a huge amount to offer, and the perfect central location for a new Boux Avenue store, bridging the gap between our Watford, Bristol and Birmingham stores.

“Being located within the new and improved Westgate shopping centre is a great fit for Boux Avenue and is just in time for the shoppers to benefit from our fantastic new winter range.”

The number of shopping trips to Oxford is expected to increase from 5 million to an estimated 16 million now the centre has opened.

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