Westfield sales up

SALES at Westfield shopping centre were up 11 per cent last month lifting some of the gloom from the retail market.

The mall in West London's Shepherds Bush also saw spending in the run-up to
Christmas soaring by 18 per cent compared with the same period in 2008 when the
UK was in the grip of recession.

The sales hike last month compared with a 6.1 per cent rise in west End

Shoppers spent £700m at Westfield last year despite fears that it could
struggle as shoppers tightened their belts.

Westfield UK's managing director Michael Gutman said: "We’re delighted with
the number. We had a very good Christmas. When we started Westfield it was
a green field location with no trading and we opened in the teeth of a very
serious downturn. We’re now seeing a strong performance in London as the
building establishes itself. People understand the offer now.”

But Gutman said despite the figures showing a better performance than the
west End he haas no intention of trying to replace it.

He added: "I don't look at it as an alternative to the West End. I think
there's a very large market in London and the South-East for everyone.

“There's an undersupply of quality retail space. Retailers have done their
cost-cutting and now they’re thinking about growth but there are limited
opportunities for flagship stores in London.”

Westfield is planning to open a new mall next to the Olympic park in
Stratford in under two years.