International retail brands give Westfield modest rise in earnings

The $12.5 billion Westfield Retail Trust has reported a modest 2% rise in earnings for the 2012 financial year noting the expansion of international brands in its malls.

The trust comprises 38 Westfields in Australia and nine New Zealand shopping centres with more than 12,000 shops.

The REIT reported $573 million in distributable earnings for the year ending December 31, 2012.

Retail sales reached $20.9 billion with speciality retail sales of $9,852 per square metre in Australia and a portfolio occupancy rate of 99.5%.

The Westfield Retail Trust completed $1.5 billion in developments including Westfield Sydney (completed in April 2012) and the redevelopment of Westfield Fountain Gate (the biggest in the porfolio at 174,000 square metres) with a development pipeline of $1.2 billion.

The portfolio delivered a yield of 6%.

Westfield Retail Trust managing director Domenic Panaccio called it a “strong financial result” noting that several international retailers had entered or expanded their operations” among the portfolio of malls.

The portfolio is home to half of all Zara stores in Australia and a third of all Apple stores.

Panaccico says he expects 2013 to continue to present challenges but says the trust’s high quality shopping centres “remain the first choice for many domestic and international retailers”.

This year the trust will commence redevelopment of Westfield Miranda and Westfield Mt Gravatt.

This article first appeared on Property Observer.

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