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Tea Leaves

From Beijing to Bicester: surviving the age of 'Amazonification'

Hordes of Asian shoppers in UK town present flipside of tourism nightmare

I'm in a place where you can save money by spending it -- at least, that is what millions of Chinese and other Asian shoppers seem to think. Here, for example, is a Hugo Boss leather coat that once cost 2,000 pounds ($2,653) selling for 500 pounds. Many similar bargains are available on this boutique-lined boulevard, which is said to rival the length of Paris's Champs-Elysees.

Brand-addicted shoppers load up on the offerings of Givenchy, Balanciaga, Lagerfeld, Ferragamo, Kenzo, Jimmy, Vivienne, Stella; altogether there are about 160 outlet stores, offering hands-free shopping and multilingual assistance. You could be in Dubai or Singapore. Except that the birdsong is real, the air is not conditioned and off to the side are the cow-dotted meadows of the English countryside. 

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