£1 Billion Revitalization Plan Aims to Restore Oxford Street's Glory

Oxford Street in London is undergoing a £1 billion transformation, with global brands like Ikea and Abercrombie & Fitch securing prime locations. The revitalization plan aims to restore the street's former glory, with refurbished department stores, new retailers, and enhanced shopping experiences.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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£1 Billion Revitalization Plan Aims to Restore Oxford Street's Glory

£1 Billion Revitalization Plan Aims to Restore Oxford Street's Glory

Oxford Street, London's iconic shopping destination, is undergoing a remarkable transformation thanks to a £1 billion investment aimed at restoring its former glory. The street, investment, transformation, shopping, once plagued by empty storefronts and low-end retailers, is now witnessing a resurgence as global brands scramble to secure prime locations along the 1.2-mile stretch.

The revitalization plan, spearheaded by the new owners of the former Debenhams and House of Fraser department stores, is set to breathe new life into Oxford Street. These landmark buildings, which stood vacant for months, are being converted into modern office spaces with street-facing shops at a combined cost of £330 million. Well-known brands such as HMV, Kurt Geiger, Paris Saint-Germain, and the US National Basketball Association have already secured their spots on the revamped opinion, standard, view, street.

Why this matters: This investment has significant implications for the UK's retail industry, as it sets a precedent for revitalizing struggling high streets across the country. Moreover, the transformation of Oxford Street is expected to boost local economies and create new job opportunities, contributing to the overall economic growth of the region.

The influx of new retailers is not limited to the refurbished department stores. Fashion giant Abercrombie & Fitch is set to make its Oxford Street debut next year with a two-floor flagship store. The Moco Museum, a 25,000 sq ft modern art museum, will open its doors at Marble Arch this summer. Uniqlo has also expanded its presence with its third and largest store on the street at One Oxford Street retail destination above Tottenham Court Road Tube station.

One of the most significant investments comes from Swedish furniture giant Ikea, which plans to open its first West End store at Oxford Circus in spring 2025. The company is investing a staggering £378 million in the site, demonstrating its confidence in Oxford Street's future. Many other brands are following suit, with Vision Express spending £4 million on its new flagship store and a former New Look store being converted into Pocket Planet, Britain's largest miniature world attraction set to open next year.

Property experts have been astonished by the unprecedented speed of Oxford Street's turnaround. Sam Foyle, co-head of global retail at Savills, remarked, "There's been a phenomenal speed of turnaround... The rates are down by as much as 40 per cent, and that can mean your rates and rents bill falling by £1 million." Last year's business rate revaluation, which reduced bills by millions of pounds, has been a key catalyst for the revival.

Dee Corsi, chief executive of the New West End Company (NWEC), expressed optimism about Oxford Street's future, stating, "The stars have aligned for us... We had some important commitments from big brands like Ikea as far back as 2021, but the rate revaluation last year also made a significant difference." Westminster Council Leader Adam Hug echoed this sentiment, acknowledging that just a few years ago, optimism about Oxford Street was in short supply due to the proliferation of empty units and questionable retailers.

The £1 billion investment in Oxford Street is not only transforming the retail landscape but also enhancing the overall shopping experience. Westminster Council and the New West End Company are investing in broader pavements, seating areas, and greenery to create a more inviting atmosphere for visitors. This comprehensive approach aims to restore Oxford Street's position as Europe's premier shopping destination, offering a mix of global brands, independent retailers, and immersive experiences.

Key Takeaways

  • Oxford Street receives £1 billion investment to restore its former glory.
  • Global brands like HMV, Kurt Geiger, and Ikea secure prime locations.
  • Revitalization plan creates new job opportunities and boosts local economy.
  • Business rate revaluation reduces bills by millions, catalyzing the revival.
  • Oxford Street aims to become Europe's premier shopping destination again.