Scentre Group, the parent company of Westfield Living Centres, recently echoed what most people know. Once the lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne are lifted, consumers will flood back to their local shopping malls.
But even with restrictions in Australia’s two largest cities, Scentre Group’s fortunes have remained buoyant. Demand for space has been strong nationwide and the company pulled in $1.2 billion in gross rent during the first half of the year – an increase of 37 per cent by contrast to the first six months of 2020.
Annual sales at Westfield Living Centres reached $23.4 billion. The latest results are pleasing and demonstrate the resilience of our platform and the ability to generate cash flow with operating profit up 28 per cent, said Peter Allen, CEO of Scentre Group.
“We have delivered strong operating performance even with a number of government restrictions in place. In those locations impacted less by lockdowns, we have seen trending conditions better than those in the first half of 2019.”
Westfield shopping complexes are crucial to the Australian beauty industry as the “home” of major retailers, including David Jones, Myer, Mecca, Sephora, L’Occitane, Jurlique, pharmacies, prestige beauty boutiques and professional beauty services from laser treatments to nails.
All of Westfield Living Centres remained open during state lockdowns. Excluding cinemas and travel, total sales exceeded the same period in 2019 and occupancy stayed strong at 98.5 per cent.
Over the 12 months from June 2020 to June 2021, the Westfield Plus membership program ballooned by 1.4 million members to reach 1.9 million.
Scentre Group is expecting even better results leading into the Christmas period. “Customers want to return to our Westfield Living Centres, as what we offer is integral to their lives,” noted Allen.
The company also announced that its $55 million Westfield Mt Druitt development in Sydney is on track to re-open in the first quarter of 2022.