intu Metrocentre's Qube dining area
Shopping centres intu Metrocentre and intu Eldon Square contributed £566m to the local economy last year according to a new report by owner intu.
The shopping centres also supported 14,900 local jobs in 2016, representing more than 10% of all jobs in the area.
The research from planning consultants Lichfields measured the economic impact of each centre to reveal how much retail destinations stores are worth to their local areas in terms of employment, regional investment and business rates paid.
It found the total contribution by intu shopping centres grew by £700m in 2016, from £4.2bn in 2015. The number of jobs they supported across the country increased by 14% to more than 137,000, with a total wage bill of £1.9bn.
intu's development pipeline is expected to generate an additional 31,000 jobs and a further £1.95bn for the economy over the next 10 years.
The Metrocentre is Europe’s largest covered shopping and leisure centre, and underwent a £34m investment programme from 2011 – 2016. Eldon Square is located in Newcastle city centre, with over 130 high street stores.
Intu Eldon square’s new £25m Grey’s Quarter dining development has expanded the centre’s restaurant offering by bringing new names to the city.
Gavin Prior, regional director at intu Metrocentre and intu Eldon Square, said: “Creating and managing retail and leisure destinations that customers want to visit helps businesses flourish across the country, drives up investment in towns and cities and establishes real local prosperity. The jobs they create cater for a wide range of skills and abilities and deliver more entry-level and flexible routes into employment.”
intu Metrocentre and intu Eldon Square work in association with Gateshead College and Jobcentre Plus to offer unemployed people bespoke courses to secure jobs in the retail sector. Retail Gold trains successful applicants into work-ready candidates with essential skills, knowledge and opportunities to gain employment in the hospitality and retail sector.
Since 2015, the initiative has secured paid employment for 340 previously unemployed individuals.
Alexander Nicoll, corporate responsibility director at intu, added: “We invest millions in our centres and their local communities every year. This allows us to create long-lasting and positive change by delivering skills, employment and health and wellbeing.”