Westfield Still Has Faith In High End Department Stores

by MR Magazine Staff

Don’t count Westfield co-CEO Steve Lowy among those who think department stores no longer have a role in anchoring a successful mall. The executive, who spoke to Fortune this week at the Shoptalk conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, noted that the Australian mall developer’s $1 billion overhaul of the Century City Center in Los Angeles, recently inaugurated, made it home to a brand new Nordstrom store and that Westfield is also adding a Bloomingdale’s at an upcoming shopping center in the San Diego area. “There are not four or five department stores in these malls anymore,” Lowy said. He added: “You take one or two of the goods one, then look at the Inditex (Zara parent) stores.” He noted that a developer can easily fill the 100,000 square feet vacated by a department store with an H&M, a Zara, and a Uniqlo. Some 28% of Westfield’s revenues now come from department stores, down from 42% a decade ago, according to the company’s latest financial statements. Westfield, like its much larger peers General Growth Properties and Simon Property Group has been navigating the current turmoil in retail by shedding weak properties and focusing on the high end, replacing struggling retailers with upscale restaurants, gyms, and other features to break out of the same-old same-old that has proven catastrophic to the shopping center industry. The company has lined up tenants like Tesla and Shake Shack, which were absent from malls only a few years ago. Read more at Fortune.