Westfield announces early opening of London expansion after reporting in-line results

 
Alys Key
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Shoppers Visit Newly Opened Westfield Shopping Centre in London
Westfield's flagship locations are attracting more sales than regional sites (Source: Getty)

Westfield, the Australian owner of shopping centres around the world, reported growth in line with expectations for the first half of the year, but said that it had been operating in a "challenging retail environment".

The figures

Funds from operations (FFO), the key measure used by real estate investment trusts to evaluate cash flow, nudged up from US $342m to $343m (£266.5m).

But pre-tax profits declined to $569m (£442.1m), down from $599m during the same period last year

Total income was $684m, up from $637m, but this was weighed on by higher financing costs and property expenses.

Read more: Why Brent Cross owner Hammerson still has confidence in UK retail

Why it's interesting

The company has two Westfield locations in London and is opening a third in Croydon. It said today that a £600m expansion to Westfield London in White City would now open six months ahead of schedule in March 2018.

Other highlights of the group's retail development programme include the go-ahead on a new shopping centre in Milan.

But retail sales were down across several locations in the group's regional shopping centres, whereas there was a strong rise in sales at flagship city sites. This follows the continuing decline of footfall in shopping centres.

What the company said

Co-CEOs, Peter and Steven Lowy, said: “In a challenging retail environment, the performance for the first half was good and we remain confident on executing our strategy to transform our assets into the pre-eminent global shopping centre portfolio.

We are creating great experiences for retailers, consumers and brands. We have evolved the composition of our portfolio through the addition of food, leisure and entertainment, and a broader mix of uses including many new concepts, emerging technologies and online brands.

Read more: Shop 'til you drop: How many billions did Brits spend at Westfield malls?

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