THE Merry Hill Centre has been transferred to a new operator, saving 200 jobs.

Ellandi, the UK’s leading privately-owned operator of shopping centres, has been appointed as the new asset manager for intu Merry Hill, after intu went into administration in June.

The company will oversee the operation and development of intu Merry Hill on behalf of the consortium of banks that own the centre.

Ellandi, which operates over 30 shopping centres across the UK has confirmed that intu Merry Hill will continue to receive investment and development to maintain its place as a leading retail destination in the West Midlands.

Investment includes the current remodelling of the exterior of the centre, which is due to complete by spring 2021.

A refurbishment of the bathroom facilities has just been completed and other improvements will follow over the coming months.

Ellandi has appointed Savills as managing agent with responsibility for the day-to-day running of the centre, which will continue to be known as intu Merry Hill for an interim period before being rebranded in 2021.

All existing centre staff will transfer their employment to Savills on the same employment terms, securing 200 jobs, and suppliers to the centre will also transfer their contracts over from intu to Savills.

Mark Robinson, property director and co-founder of Ellandi, said: “intu Merry Hill plays a vital role in the West Midlands. It is responsible for thousands of jobs, supports local suppliers and makes a significant contribution to the regional economy. We are excited about the opportunity that intu Merry Hill has to evolve through investment and offer the very best retail and leisure experience to shoppers in the West Midlands and beyond. We are committed, alongside the centre’s owners, to supporting jobs and the local community.”

Rachael Jackson, general manager for Merry Hill, said: “intu Merry Hill has a very bright future and the management team at the centre is looking forward to working with Ellandi. Visitor numbers are getting back to pre-Covid levels and 97% of our retail and leisure partners have reopened, which shows the resilience and importance of Merry Hill in the region.”

Dudley South MP Mike Wood added: “News of this deal will be such a relief for the many thousands of local people who work at intu Merry Hill – and the decision by the centre’s new operator to continue with investment plans for the centre is a real show of confidence in the ability of our area to bounce back from what has been a very difficult year.”