13,018 jobs were also supported by intu Watford, representing 12 per cent of all jobs in the local area.
intu owns many of the UK’s largest and most popular shopping centres and the research by planning and development consultancy Lichfields measured each centre’s economic contribution to reveal the value Britain’s best-loved retail destinations bring to their local areas.
It found that including intu’s employees, people working in retail and in areas linked to running its centres, such as delivery and maintenance, intu supported a total of 132,950 jobs and contributed £4.8bn to the UK economy last year. This is an increase on 128,490 jobs and an economic contribution of £4.6bn in 2017.
The number of people employed in retail at intu centres also grew by more than 4%, from 96,350 in 2017 to 100,652 in 2018.
The growth in jobs can be partly attributed to intu’s ongoing investment in new developments such as the £180 million extension to intu Watford which opened last year. intu invested £169 million on new development projects across the country in 2018 alone and is planning a further £600 million of investment over the next 10 years.
Matthew Roberts, intu chief executive, said: “Retail is a sector that Britain can really be proud of. The best shopping centres 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 intu Watford 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.”
intu’s total contribution to local charities and community organisations also reached £1.7m last year thanks to initiatives to help people into work, to make its centres more accessible and to support activities that promote health, wellbeing and social inclusion.
Vicki Costello, general manager at intu Watford added: “With 14 million customers in 2018, we take our responsibilities as being a major part of the community seriously.
“The team at intu Watford reaches out to help the community, our staff volunteer for good causes and we make regular donations from our Community Fund. The positive community work we have undertaken has included donating products and time to local charities, clearing meadows in Cassiobury Park as part of Global Signature Week and redeveloped a learning pond at a school.
“The work we undertook with First Give has made such an impact on wider organisations, Rickmansworth School and our own team.”
The research will be published in intu Watford’s Corporate responsibility highlights report which is being issued by the centre from July.
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