Bicester Village suffers 85% shopper decline over coronavirus fears

Bicester Village Value Retail Coronavirus
Over 7 million people visited Bicester Village in 2019
// Bicester Village sees decline in footfall due to coronavirus fears
// Chinese visitors dropped by around 85%

Visitor numbers at luxury shopping outlet Bicester Village have reportedly dropped due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

The Oxford Mail was “banned” from speaking to shoppers at the outlet earlier this month, after journalists tried to see what the site was like following the outbreak, the paper reported.

At least 10 staff were reported to have been wearing surgical face masks at the time, with Burberry among the shops with staff seen wearing masks and a cleaner being instructed to disinfect surfaces.

READ MORE: BFC Designer pop-up returns to Bicester Village

Over seven million people visited Bicester Village in 2019, according to its owner Value Retail.

It was established in 1995 and reported sales of £259 million in 2018.

The outlet, which attracts thousands of Chinese tourists each year, is now “deserted” despite “eager shoppers” – many of them from Asia and the Middle East – making their way wearing face masks and applying hand sanitiser, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile, staff told the BBC that Chinese tourists are the biggest group for the luxury shop.

They added that the last two weeks have been “quiet”, estimating the branch has seen a drop of about 85 per cent in the number of Chinese customers entering stores.

The coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact on retail, particularly the luxury sector as the value of the FTSE 100 dropped by £44 billion last month after luxury retail groups saw their shares decline.

Luxury retail groups such as Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), Christian Dior, Hermes and Gucci owner Kering – all reliant on Chinese demand – saw their shares drop.

Burberry closed 24 of its 64 stores in mainland China earlier this month as the coronavirus outbreak continued to raise fears.

Earlier this week, Apple shut all 42 of its stores in China for at least eight days as a result of the spreading virus, while denim retailer Levi’s shut about half of its stores in China due to the outbreak.

Nike also temporarily shut down half of its stores in China.

Michael Kors parent company Capri Holdings warned last week that the coronavirus outbreak could result in a $100 million (£77 million) hit to revenue.

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