The owner of the Potteries Shopping Centre has gone into administration after failing to secure its future during crunch talks with lenders.
Intu, which also runs the Trafford Centre in Greater Manchester and a centre in Derby had been in a desperate scramble to agree a "standstill" on its current loan agreements.
The group has struggled under a £4.5 billion debt burden for the past year, but has been hammered by significantly lower rent payments from retail tenants since the Coronavirus outbreak.
The group insists its 17 sites, will continue to trade.
Intu employs about 3,000 staff across the UK, while a further 102,000 work for the shops within its shopping centres.
Each of the shopping centres is owned individually by special purpose vehicles (“Propcos”) which are outside of any insolvency process and continue to trade as normal under the control of their directors.
Importantly, an agreement has been reached with key stakeholders which will allow continued provision of central services to the Propcos. Consequently, all of the shopping centres will remain open and operational while the joint administrators assess options for the business and assets of the group.
Jim Tucker, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “Intu owns many of the UK’s biggest and best-known shopping centres. The challenges affecting UK retail are well known and have been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown. As today’s administration makes clear, those challenges have fed through to owners of retail property, even to owners of high-quality shopping centres such as intu’s.”
David Pike, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, added: “With all centres remaining open, we look forward to working with staff, suppliers and other key stakeholders to preserve value and jobs in these important retail destinations.”