Westfield Retreats From Malls As Retail Woes Linger
When Paris-based commercial real estate firm Unibail-Rodamco purchased Australia’s Westfield Group in 2018, they acquired 33 American malls. Since then, they have shedded a number of these, including three last year.
Now with 25 mall properties left, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield plans to sell off even more to lower debts, executives said during an earning call last week.
“We have other direct off-market discussions as well on regional malls that are part of this strategy to really streamline our portfolio,”Unibail-Rodamco’s chief executive, Jean-Marie Tritant said on the earnings call.
The company has, this year, stopped paying debt on four of its malls, in a bid to return these plummeting investors to lenders.
The largest US mall owner Simon Property Group did similar, with creditors foreclosing two US malls after the company stopped paying the mortgages.
This is despite the recent reopening of America’s brick and mortar retail, suggesting a more permanent sea change is in play.