Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
New intu Watford boss Howard Oldstein outlines his aims for the shopping 'destination'
The new manager of intu Watford aims to turn the expanding centre into a "destination" that can tempt customers out of their homes and away from the lure of simply shopping online.
Howard Oldstein, who takes over from the retiring manager Mike Stevens, said the Charter Place expansion will help the centre adjust to consumers changing habits.
The £100-million redevelopment of the centre, which neighbours intu Watford, will see it rebuilt with restaurants, a cinema and leisure facilities.
He said: "In retail it is no longer enough just having a business, especially with the improvements regarding computers and iPads - everyone can do everything at a fingertip now.
"Therefore we have to give people a reason to want to come out of their houses. I think from a restaurants point of view and from an entertainment point of view once Charter Place is built we can also establish some additional retailers to the very good ones we have at the moment.
"That will allow people to spend more time here, increase the time, and make it more of a destination."
The 48-year-old, who left school at 16 to work in the grocery department of Fortnum & Mason, comes to Watford after a seven-year stint as the manager of intu Bromley.
He joined the shopping centre company in 2006 after a career which saw him run duty free operations in Luton and London City airports after working his way up to being a merchandise manager for John Lewis.
He said he took up the intu Watford job as he has admired the centre for a while and it was an opportunity he "could not turn down".
Mr Oldstein added he felt the main challenge for the future was to marry the new Charter Place centre and intu Watford into a seamless entity.
He said: "I guess the goal is for me is that when Charter Place opens that it and intu Watford are one product - it’s not Charter Place and the old intu Watford. It’s important that we make that happen.
"Here we have two competitors, and difference from Bromley to here is that Bromley was the smaller of the two competitors.
"Here we’re one of the bigger players and therefore Brent Cross will be looking at everything that we do and White City will continue the way they are. We are a business of our own and we need to make sure it works at the end of it."
Comments are closed on this article.