“Retailers such as Apple and Zara demonstrate the success that can be enjoyed through an exciting and engaging retail experience."
Zara, Apple and reviving cinemas among best-performing Westfield tenants
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International brands like Zara and Apple have helped drive shoppers back to Westfield shopping centres and drive up sales among mini-major retail tenants, according to the latest quarterly update from the shopping centre group.
Turnover in the mini-major category, which includes Zara and Apple along with the likes of JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith and Priceline, was up 2.7% for the year to March and 4.3% for the first three months of 2012, according to March quarter results filed by Westfield Retail Trust (WRT), the spin-off entity that manages the $13 billion portfolio of Australian and New Zealand shopping centres.
Over the quarter sales among mini-majors grew at nearly four times the rate of total speciality sales across Westfield’s Australian portfolio (1.1%) and more than double the 1.2% growth achieved over the year to March.
“Retailers such as Apple and Zara demonstrate the success that can be enjoyed through an exciting and engaging retail experience. These mini-majors are proving to be great destinational retailers,” said Westfield Retail Trust chairman Richard Warburton in his address to shareholders.
Warburton says Westfield centres are continuing to “evolve and adapt to the environment and new retail trends”.
“Innovative dining precincts, expanded retail services, new market entrants and larger-format stores are examples of this,” he adds.
Zara opened its 1,800-square-metre store in Westfield Sydney on Pitt Street mall in April last year – its first store in Australia.
A new Zara store is planned at Westfield Doncaster for later this year.
There are Apple stores in Westfield Doncaster and Westfield Southland in Melbourne, Westfield Chermside in Brisbane and Westfield Hornsby in Sydney.
According to the quarterly results, cinema tenants are also performing much more strongly, with sales rising 9.3% for the first quarter of 2012 to be up 4% for the 12 months to March 2012, reversing a trend of declining sales reported last year.
The decline in department store sales appears to be bottoming out, with sales at the likes of Myer and David Jones down 0.2% for the quarter compared with a 5.2% decline in turnover for the year to March.
Discount department store sales (Kmart, Target, Big W) fell 2.5% over the quarter, with jewellery stores (3.7%) and footwear retailers (1.8%) also performing poorly.Click to enlarge