THE North-East’s largest shopping centre is to be re-named “intu Metrocentre” as part of a £25m re-brand by the company which owns it.
Capital Shopping Centres, whose 15-strong portfolio also includes Eldon Square in Newcastle, Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside in Essex, will adopt the name "intu" as part of the national marketing campaign.
While both North-East shopping centres will adopt the new “intu” brand, three of the firm’s sites outside the region will keep their existing names because they are jointly owned.
As well as the name changes, the company will install free wifi across its estate so shoppers can log on to the internet and its website from their smartphones.
The company plans to sell fashion items from its tenants and other retailers on the intu site, which will be launched in April.
The move, which is a bid to increase footfall and encourage shoppers to stay for longer, mirrors that of rival developer Westfield, which has re-branded five of its UK shopping centres under its own name.
David Fischel, chief executive of Capital Shopping Centres, said at present there was no link between the company name and its individual centres, and the plans would provide new marketing opportunities.
He said the group had to come up with a new word for its name as it was hard to trademark existing words.
Mr Fischel added: "It also says what we want people to do, which is to go into the centres."
The other shopping centres to use the intu brand will be Trafford Centre in Manchester, Lakeside in Essex, Braehead in Glasgow, The Potteries in Stoke, The Chimes in Uxbridge, the Broadmarsh and Victoria centres in Nottingham, Chapelfield in Norwich, The Harlequin in Watford and The Glades in Bromley.
St David's in Cardiff, Manchester's Arndale centre and Bristol's The Mall at Cribbs Causeway will remain the same.