July 17 2019 @ 14:20 by Richard Dawson
Retail company intu contributed almost £602 million to the North East’s economy in 2018, as well as supporting the employment of nearly 20,000 people, a new report has found.
intu is one of the country’s biggest leisure and retail companies, owning 17 shopping centres across various locations, including Newcastle’s Eldon Square and Gateshead’s Metrocentre.
The report valued intu’s gross value added (GVA) to the UK’s economy at around £4.8 billion, with 132,950 jobs supported, a marked growth from 2017, when the firm’s GVA stood at £4.7 billion and they employed 128,490 workers.
The research was commissioned by the company themselves and carried out by planning and development consultancy Litchfields. It is available in the firm’s contributing report for 2018.
Matthew Roberts, intu chief executive, said: “Retail is a sector that Britain should be really proud of.
“The best shopping destinations employ people in a wide variety of jobs across the length and breadth of the country and are catalysts that create economic and social value.
“intu supports more than 130,000 jobs and contributes billions to the prosperity and wellbeing of communities around the country.
“Flagship centres such as ours play an important role in the lives of communities across the UK, not only in terms of the jobs we create but also the taxes we generate as well as the causes we support to improve the lives and wellbeing of people in our neighbourhoods.”
The report’s findings of increased contributions to local and national economies comes as welcome news to intu, who experienced a turbulent end to 2018 after a takeover bid by the Peel Group collapsed due to economic uncertainty and market volatility.
Gavin Prior, regional centre director at intu, added: “With 34 million customers at intu Eldon Square and 20 million customers at intu Metrocentre in 2018, we take our responsibilities as being a major part of the community seriously.
“Being at the heart of our community helps us create a long-term, sustainable business that brings value to all our stakeholders.
“We initiate and support projects that focus on disadvantaged young people, health and wellbeing and accessibility.”