Staff at French beauty brand L'Occitane's new store at the Westgate Centre welcomed their first customers today.

After six years in Cornmarket, the chain, which specialises in hand creams and other skin care products, now has a shop opposite Bonn Square.


Retail property and wholesale director Jamie Taylor was there at 10am to cut the ribbon and welcome customers.

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Mr Taylor said: "Oxford is a key strategic city for us.


"The store's position at the Westgate Centre means we have the best of both worlds - we are part of the centre and on the high street.

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"Once Westgate opened we starting working towards this opportunity.


"We have messaged all our customers from Cornmarket to let them know we are now open at Westgate."

Mr Taylor said the store's upper frontage has been designed as a tribute to the city's Botanic Garden.


"We use natural products so we thought that would be appropriate," he added. 

A Provence in Oxford handcream has also been launched to celebrate the chain's links with the city.


Jenna Cummins was working in Leamington Spa before switching to Oxford.


She said: "I'm really excited to be working here at the new store and looking forward to welcoming customers."

A spokesman said the business began in the markets of Provence.

With nothing but a small truck and a solid knowledge of plants, a 23-year-old named Olivier Baussan began distilling rosemary essential oil to sell locally.

He expanded his production from oils to soaps to creams, taking inspiration from the regionhe grew up in.

Brendan Hattam, general manager of Westgate Oxford, said: "We’re excited to welcome L’Occitane to Westgate Oxford – the new boutique is looking great.

"The brand complements a great mix of fashion and beauty at Westgate and we’re sure it will be popular with our visitors."