Cineworld and Hollywood Bowl are opening at intu Watford’s £180 million extension this week as part of work by owner intu to transform the high street shopping centre into a day and night out destination.
intu has signed up the leading leisure operators and a number of new catering brands in order to attract shoppers who have previously had to travel outside Watford for amenities like a cinema and bowling.
The new leisure offer is launching before Christmas to give customers looking for a day out experience the opportunity to visit one of nine new Cineworld screens, including an IMAX with laser and state-of-the-art 270-degree ScreenX, or enjoy bowling, an amusements area and drink and meal out at Hollywood Bowl’s newest venue.
Hollywood Bowl is opening at intu Watford to capitalise on the wide catchment area and the growing number of companies opening office headquarters in the town which is boosting weekday trade.
Laurence Keen, chief financial officer at Hollywood Bowl, said: “intu Watford is a major leisure destination for the wider area and this really attracted us to the new town centre scheme.
“Our latest family entertainment centre focuses on creating fun-filled experiences for our customers and we’re extremely confident the new Hollywood Bowl will thrive in this location by meeting the growing leisure demand among shoppers working and living in and around the town.”
The centre’s 400,000 sq ft extension also includes a new-concept Debenhams and 13 more stores including Hugo Boss, Jack Wills and Superdry and has elevated Watford to a top-20 retail destination according to property consultancy CACI alongside Edinburgh and Reading.
Rebecca Ryman, regional managing director at intu, said: “Making shoppers smile with compelling experiences is key to our strategy of attracting more shoppers and the right range of brands to intu’s popular retail destinations. Watford has a very affluent catchment area stretching into London and the home counties but it hasn’t had the right leisure offer to attract families and other people living and working nearby into the town centre. We’ve created a new space at the heart of the town that is going to give the operators there the perfect opportunity to flourish.”
Yo! Sushi, Côte Brasserie and The Florist are among the 11 dining brands opening there.
Chris Hill, chief executive officer at New World Trading Company, which will open its bar and restaurant The Florist at intu Watford in the coming months, said: “We’re really excited to be opening The Florist at intu Watford. The centre is already a vibrant retail destination and we’re looking forward to offering a new dining and drinking experience to this affluent catchment.”