Shopping centre giant Westfield pushes ahead with $10.5bn expansion as annual profits rise

 
Kasmira Jefford
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Westfield extending its shopping centre at Shepherds Bush and building a third London site in Croydon with Hammerson (Source: Westfield )

Westfield Corporation, the Australian shopping centre behemoth that owns two of London’s biggest malls, delivered upbeat results for 2015, in its first full-year since splitting its empire into two.

The retail landlord, which spun off its Australian and New Zealand operations into a separate business in 2014 to focus on its growing international business, made a net profit of US$2.3bn (£1.65bn) for the 12 months to 31 December 2015.

Like-for-like net operating income across its estate rose by 3.9 per cent while specialty sales increased by 6.4 per cent to $726 per square feet.

Westfield owns a portfolio of 34 shopping centres in the US and the UK, with a total $29bn of assets under management and a $10.5bn development pipeline.

The group kicked off $2.5bn in projects last year, including its £600m expansion of Westfield London, making it the largest shopping centre in Europe when it opens in 2018 with 450 stores.

It completed around $1bn of schemes last year, including Westfield Bradford, which opened in November more than a decade after construction started on the site. The $250m shopping centre is owned by European investment group Meyer Bergman.

Westfield is working with fellow retail landlord Hammerson on plans to redevelop the Whitgift Centre in Croydon into a new £1bn retail destination, with 600 new homes, offices, a cinema, bowling, restaurants and cafes.

In September, the pair cleared a major hurdle after being granted a compulsory purchase order to buy a further leasehold interest in the site. Work is expected to start on the scheme in 2017, once it has achieve final planning permission in the coming months.

Westfield’s co-chief executives, Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy, said: “The performance of our pre-eminent portfolio remains strong and we continue to make significant progress on our development program.”

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