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Westfield owner URW reports slump in Q1 turnover, but upbeat on reopened markets

By Huw Hughes


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Image: URW

The owner of London’s Westfield shopping centre said Thursday its first-quarter turnover remained “strongly impacted” by the ongoing pandemic.

Property giant Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) reported a 40.8 percent drop in turnover on a proportionate basis to 566.7 million euros, down from 956.6 million euros last year, as store closures continued to hurt the business.

The group’s first quarter results last year were only “marginally affected” by Covid-19 as major restrictions in its key markets only came into effect in late March 2020.

Gross rental income (GRI) from the company’s shopping centres dropped 30.4 percent to 472.8 million euros, down from 679.1 million euros a year earlier.

GRI in the UK fell the most, down 59.2 percent to 20.2 million euros, while there were also significant drops in Germany (46.4 percent), France (36.1 percent), Central Europe (33.4 percent), the US (20.9 percent) and Spain (20.4 percent).

But URW said it saw “encouraging signs of expected consumption rebounds” in markets where stores had reopened.

In the US, sales performance improved progressively throughout the quarter and in March reached 87 percent of the pre-Covid 2019 levels.

In the same month, sales for Spain, Austria and Sweden came to 81 percent, 79 percent and 76 percent of 2019 levels, respectively.

Meanwhile in the UK, in the first week after reopening on April 12, footfall came to an “encouraging” 75 percent of 2019 levels.

In February, URW announced it was cutting down on its presence in the US and focusing on its UK estate as it navigates its way through the pandemic.