intu to invest £1m in new Watford grab & go offer

Shopping centre owner, intu is investing more than £1m to create an additional food offer at intu Watford following the launch of the centre’s £180m retail and leisure extension last year.

A series of new food outlets will open at the opposite end of the centre to intu Watford’s extension, with construction work underway from next month to transform the space into a relaxed, communal dining experience.

The redesigned interior will encourage communal dining by incorporating giant pods where groups of friends, family members and the high number of office-workers in Watford will be able to enjoy a bite to eat together.

Five grab-and-go caterers will take space there to further enhance the centre’s casual dining offer following its expansion and, with brands like John Lewis and popular climbing operator Rock Up nearby, provide a strong retail and leisure offer at both sides of intu Watford. The new offer will complement existing operators Tortilla and Gourmet Burger Kitchen already open in that part of the centre.

It follows the launch of the 400,000 sq ft extension which has introduced new restaurants, leisure operators and stores to turn the centre into a day out destination and promote Watford into a top 20 retail location in property consultancy CACI’s national ranking. The rest of intu Watford has also undergone a £13 million refurbishment programme with work to replace flooring, ceilings and lighting and refurbish the centre’s car parks and toilets.

Rebecca Ryman, regional managing director at intu, said, “Every area of the centre has been refurbished as part of our strategy to establish intu Watford as a leading day and night out destination and this is the latest phase in our plans to create an even better customer experience and more opportunities for the brands there to thrive.

“We wanted to complement the casual dining experience at intu Watford’s new retail and leisure extension with an equally strong grab-and-go food offering at the other side of the centre that will capitalise on its 14 million a year footfall and the vast numbers of office workers in the town. The mall-space is being completely redesigned with an inviting communal dining experience that will increase dwell time and drive footfall to our new food outlets as well as nearby retail and leisure brands like John Lewis and new climbing operator Rock Up.”

intu Watford’s extension launched last year, with Cineworld, Hollywood Bowl, Cote Brasserie and bar and restaurant brand The Florist among 13 incoming restaurant and leisure brands. There will also be 13 more stores there, with Debenhams, Superdry and Hugo Boss among those to open last year.