intu Watford has announced that Primark has renewed the lease on its store at the centre. Contracts have been exchanged and the retailer continues to trade from its existing unit, neighbouring a number of other leading brands – such as M&S, Lego and JD Sports.
The renewal of the lease by Primark is indicative of brands’ continued confidence in physical retail, despite the recent challenges posed by Covid-19. This is particularly relevant to the ‘halo effect’ provided by flagship stores in high footfall locations.
The news follows a number of new openings at the centre over recent months, including that of luxury watch brand Tag Heuer in July and international retailer, Uniqlo at the end of 2019.
intu Watford is a leading retail and leisure destination, typically attracting around 16 million visits from consumers per year. In September 2018, it significantly enhanced its offering with the unveiling of a 380,000 sq ft, £180 million extension, taking the total centre to 1.4m sq ft. The new space plays host to a range of exciting retail and leisure brands, including Hollister, Mango, Hugo Boss, Cineworld and Hollywood Bowl. Centre footfall increased by 15% in the first full year of trading following its opening.
The centre is performing well post-lockdown; 95% of units are now open and trading again. A number of safety measures have been introduced, including limits on visitor numbers, one-way systems, provision of hand sanitiser and enhanced cleaning regimes.
Kate Grant, speaking on behalf of intu Watford, commented:
“Primark’s decision to renew with intu Watford is exciting news, and indicative of a steady increase in confidence as we adjust in the wake of the pandemic.”
“The store, which is an anchor for the centre, continues to be in good company – with a range of exciting, international retail brands also holding space. In July we welcomed luxury watch retailer Tag Heuer, for example, which is proving a popular addition.”
“As the retail landscape evolves, brands understand the vital part physical stores continue to play in overall performance. We’re continuing to see good interest in our space from both existing and prospective tenants, and brands remain confident about our offering.
“We’re carefully managing our centre as people return to the shops post-COVID-19 – something valued by our customers. We have a range of safety measures in place to ensure shoppers feel secure, and we’re ready to adapt quickly, as and when government advice changes.”
Tom Meager, Group Director of Property at Primark , commented:
“We’re happy to renew our lease at intu Watford, which is a prime retail space and important store for Primark in the UK. We look forward to continuing to welcome our customers back to our store and providing them with the quality, affordable products they love from Primark.
“Nothing matters more to us than the safety and well-being of our employees and customers, and we have put in place extensive measures to help people feel safe while shopping in our stores, such as a strict social distancing protocol, Perspex screens at open tills and hand sanitising stations at store entrances.”