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Westfield ‘Amazon-Proof’ Centres, Ramps Up Tech, Lifestyle & Food

In a combative move to ‘Amazon-proof’ their Westfield Shopping Centres, Scentre Group have increased the number of lifestyle-focused, entertainment and food retailers under its roof.

Noted in its interim results, the company said tenants specialising in technology, food retail/dining and retail services grew their sales by 1.5%, versus the continuing decline among department and discount department stores.

Over 100 new retail tenants have been added to Westfield’s 39 malls.

Scentre state the rising popularity of food and home renovation TV shows have driven higher demand for related retailers.

Other notable inclusions have been a growing number of car manufacturers, including Tesla.

Along with the rest of Australia’s retail space, Westfield is no doubt proactively preparing for the imminent arrival of Amazon.

Westfield will also be developing a $470 million new-look mall at Coomera on the Gold Coast, offering 140 speciality stores including an alfresco area and dining precinct.

Shaw & Partners’, Peter Zuk, stated that Westfield has experienced similar challenges as other rivals (e.g. Vicinity) with relatively low sales growth and individual category trends.

“Despite this, Scentre has kept its centres almost 100 per cent full. Its focus on capital management, that is its lower target payout ratio of 85 per cent over the next few years, makes sense to us as it provides funding for Scentre’s $3 billion-plus development pipeline, which based on management’s targets, [and] should provide attractive total returns”.

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