Watford's indoor shopping centre is under new management - and it looks like it is going to be renamed and rebranded.

intu Watford has been taken over by Global Mutual, a company managing £4.2 billion of global assets, primarily in retail.

International real estate advisor Savills has been appointed as property manager and the experienced provider of shopping centre management will oversee intu Watford, which receives 16 million visits a year.

This deal secures the future of the shopping centre after intu Properties plc fell into administration in June with huge debts.

The centre, formerly known as the Harlequin, has been able to stay open despite intu's financial woes.

But it looks like intu's orange branding and name will be disappearing from Watford with the existing name and branding only set to stay in place for an "interim period".

Watford Observer:

intu Watford extension, completed in 2018, at a cost to intu of £180m

Steve Gray, head of European retail asset management at Global Mutual, said: "intu Watford has performed resiliently despite the challenges brought by the coronavirus.

"Footfall is recovering steadily and the team has continued to sign some fantastic new deals with high quality tenants.

"We also have strong support from our creditor group who have committed to inject significant new funds into our four shopping centres, providing the financial stability we need during this period.

"We can look to the future with confidence."

Watford Observer:

Martin Wallace, property management director at Savills, added: "intu Watford is a prime regional scheme that not only offers a first-class retail proposition, but also plays a vital role in the local community.

"We are very much looking forward to working with Global Mutual and the team onsite to build on the current success of the scheme and drive it forward on both a local and national scale."

intu Watford has suffered a turbulent summer losing both John Lewis and Debenhams - but there have been signs of recovery with Next opening a new beauty store on the Debenhams site, while Primark has signed a new lease.

Watford Observer:

Vicki Costello, centre director for intu Watford, said: "Our centre is a hugely popular destination for visitors from the surrounding area and remains a highly desirable location for brands wanting a flagship physical presence in a high footfall destination.

"Working closely with the central intu team, we have signed a number of major deals in the past few weeks. These include Next, who chose us to open one of the first Next Beauty Halls, Tag Heuer and Primark, with other exciting deals in the pipeline."

Watford Observer:

intu Watford has been taken over by Global Mutual along with three other intu centres - Lakeside in Essex, Victoria in Nottingham, and Braehead in Scotland.

All four shopping centres were part of intu SGS - the largest of the property companies that collectively owned intu's 17 shopping centres.

Jim Tucker, partner at KPMG and joint administrator of intu properties plc, said: "To date, nine intu centres have successfully migrated to new management.

"This has been achieved thanks to the hard work and commitment from all stakeholders to effect smooth and orderly transitions. We wish the intu Watford team all the best for the future."