Bicester Village is truly a unique experience. Located by an hour train ride outside of London, it features over countless boutiques, with names like Gucci, Prada and Dior in the luxury department as well as other favourites such as Ugg, The North Face and Rituals. The outlet grounds also offer various dining options, considering most of its customers dedicate a full day to their shopping trip.
When we arrived at Bicester Village, we were welcomed into the Apartment, a luxury space available to those who book a private styling suite and offers a place to rest, drink and eat to its customers. The styling suites themselves are ample in size and are decorated with some of fashion’s finest books. But booking one is not required to enjoy the benefits Bicester Village has to offer.
The reason why Bicester Village is so appealing is its pricing. As an outlet store, the village is able to offer up to 60% off of its luxury goods, an unmatched competitive pricing. Originally built in 1995, Bicester Village was reported in 2015 to be the second most visited place in the UK by Chinese tourists, after Buckingham Palace. The Bicester collection has since grown, with stores in locations from Shanghai and Suzhou to boutiques all over Europe such as in Dublin, Frankfurt and Barcelona.
The concept of an outlet store has been around since the end of the 19 century, where employees could shop from their factories a selection of items that didn’t make the cut. Dedicated outlet spaces came about in the 70s, first seen in an old factory in the US that was turned into a site in which all defects and products that failed to sell were put up for sale at a much larger discount, saving a company from huge amounts of waste. Ever since, the opinion on outlet stores has been divided: either you love the discounts or you hate the concept.
Bicester Village is challenging that opinion by becoming a first destination for shoppers. Not only does the village offer massive discounts on its luxury pieces, it also features new products and collections. Recently, the Lacoste store held a pop up for its latest collaboration with Minecraft, featuring all the items from that collection.
With its already massive success found in Europe and Asia, The Bicester Collection has its eyes on its next target: New York. Aiming to change the American widespread mindset on outlet stores, the outlet is set to open its doors very soon right outside of Manhattan.
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