Westfield’s Steven Lowy: “Retail At Inflection Point”
On the back of a hugely profitable first-half earnings result ($US589 million profit), Westfield’s Co-Chief Executive Steven Lowy has acknowledged the retail industry is at an “inflection point”, currently amidst one of the largest technological and social shifts the sector has seen.
Mr Lowy believes the retail sector will suffer from further volatility, and states the “transformation process” of older merchants being displaced by newer innovative brands, should be expected.
“The fact we can lease to 120 new retailers and brands that Westfield has never done business with before, in three current projects, I think says it all”, Mr Lowy states.
While traditional underperforming brands move out, Mr Lowy reports their replacements have been a new flurry of influencer and athleisure brands, fast fashion, and online retailers expanding into bricks-and-mortar spaces.
He states the rapid technological shift influencing the retail sector at current has largely been driven by three companies: Apple, Amazon and Samsung.
Whilst the enviable profit result is a 20% increase on last year, Westfield does acknowledge the re-structuring of its portfolio, from fewer flagship malls to more smaller centres, has provided a defence to the rapid marketplace shift.
The suite of Westfield’s newer tenants includes: Amazon, Samsung, Bose, Zara, Eataly, Adidas, H&M and car companies as Ford, Citroen and Tesla.
Finally, like many other organisations within the retail space, Westfield is also focusing on the impact of Amazon.