AN independent retailer has confirmed it is taking over a shop unit that has sat empty for more than five years.
Coles Books will move to the former Cargo unit – a much bigger space – in Crown Walk in June.
The move has been welcomed by a senior councillor as a “real commitment to Bicester town centre”.
Shopping precinct Crown Walk has struggled to attract retailers and shoppers to the area over the past decade.
In 2012 it was given a revamp as part of the £70million town centre regeneration, but a number of units still remained empty.
As part of their 10th anniversary, owners Caroline and Nigel French, who took over the business in 2008, announced the move.
Nigel said: “The bookshop has always enjoyed strong links with the community, the move to bigger premises will help develop and strengthen those links further.”
The new unit is double the size of their current Crown Walk unit and will allow a major expansion in activity at the shop.
Future plans include expanding the range of vinyl records and turntables and developing author events.
Caroline added: “This is such an exciting opportunity for Coles Books, and we very much look forward to sharing it with our customers.”
Cllr Lynn Pratt, lead member for estates and economy at Cherwell District Council, said: “I am delighted that Coles Books are moving to larger premises in Crown Walk.
“This shows real commitment to Bicester town centre by Nigel and Caroline French, and I hope this will encourage other retailers to come into the town centre.
“Bicester is a growing town and to that end we need a good retail choice to serve the people who live here now and will do so in the future.”
Coles opened in Bicester in 1990, at a smaller unit also in Crown Walk, and was originally known simply as The Book Shop.
It was taken over in 1994 and the name was changed to Coles Bookstore.