NEW signs are up at the £440m Westgate centre as chains move in to fit their shops - but Primark will be nearly half the size as before.

John Lewis has erected one of its signs outside its 140,000 sq ft store, while Nando’s has revealed plans for its second-floor restaurant and more signs have been proposed from retailers such as Jo Malone.

But Primark - the flagship store of the old Westgate centre with a 64,000 sq ft three-storey unit - will have to play second fiddle this time around as it begins refurbishing its 40,000 sq ft shop.

The firm said this was larger than its UK average size.

Maria Doyle, from the company’s head office in Dublin, said: “The newly refurbished Primark store will have over 40,000 sq ft of retail space and will feature the latest trends in women’s, men’s and children’s fashions including footwear, accessories as well as lingerie, beauty and homeware.”

A retail study commissioned by Oxford City Council earlier this year revealed that 23.5 per cent of the city’s shoppers visited Primark, second only to Marks and Spencer - 48.5 per cent.

But in July 2014, Westgate Oxford Alliance, a partnership formed by Land Securities and The Crown Estate, announced John Lewis as its 'anchor' store.

The Queen Street Primark branch will close when Westgate opens and its new shop will employ 300 people - creating 185 new jobs.

More than 75 positions, including full-time and part-time roles are still available.

With just ten weeks to go until the opening, Primark are not the only business beginning preparations.

Nando’s has taken over a second-floor spot and revealed plans for a glass panel entrance and ‘dark bronze’ finish to its frontage, which it hoped would create interest in its third Oxford restaurant.

Businesses moving into the Westgate have been issued with a ‘Shopfront and Advertising Guide’.

The chicken restaurant chain said this advised retailers ‘to be sympathetic to the architecture and surrounding area while having an underlying contemporary tone’.

The bright red Nando’s sign will remain but the dark bronze and repositioned glass entrance will ‘form an attractive and active shopfront that will create interest’.

British perfume and scented candle retailer Jo Malone have asked for a giant ‘lightbox’ shop sign - 2.6 metres by 5 metres on the front of the Bonn Square facade as well as smaller signs on the shop window.

A blue and brown frontage of the restaurant quarter ‘The Westgate Social’ has also been put forward.

A newly-released floor plan revealed a cluster of shops would greet shoppers using the Bonn Square entrance with Urban Outfitters, River Island, H&M, Office and Accessorize all in the opening corridor.

Brendan Hattam, General Manager at the Westgate Oxford Alliance said: “As construction on site continues to progress, we’re getting closer every day to realising our vision. We remain on track to bring a world class retail and leisure destination to Oxford in October.”