The bookshop chain Blackwell UK, commonly known as Blackwell’s, is set to open its fourth store in Oxford. The new shop, which will be located in the refurbished Westgate centre, is due to open towards the end of 2017.
Blackwell’s already has two branches in nearby Broad Street, its flagship store and an arts and poster shop, as well as a branch near Oxford Brookes.
Since its opening in 1879 Blackwell UK has catered largely for the academic and student market in Oxford, but the new store will be aimed at attracting more general customers. It will sell a greater range of best-sellers, as well as non-book products such as board games.
After nearly a decade of loss-making, ending in 2014, Blackwell’s has sought to expand its share in the market by investing in ebook technology and re-launching its website. It currently has over 40 locations in the UK.
The new store has been welcomed by some Oxford University students, who feel that the existing stores are too crowded. Blackwell’s frequenter and Balliol undergraduate Zachary Leather said, “I’m glad that they are making efforts to pull tourists away from my precious Broad Street.”
The £440 million Westgate refurbishment aims to modernise and expand the shopping complex, first opened in 1972. The new development will feature a range of High Street stores including Pret, H&M, River Island, Superdry, Primark, and Next. Curzon Cinemas, which specialise in European and art house films will have a five-screen cinema within the centre. In total, 100 shops, 25 restaurants and 61 flats will be located on the site.

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