Competition between 'big gun' shopping centres is on

Competition between 'big gun' shopping centres is on
Competition between 'big gun' shopping centres is on

The competition among Australia's "big gun" shopping centres is on. Two of the nation's biggest shopping centres - Melbourne's Chadstone and Westfield Bondi Junction in Sydney - broke past the $1 billion turnover barrier this year, while around $3 billion worth of development work is underway across nine of the major centres in Australia.

The findings were in the latest 2014 Shopping Centre News Big Guns report, which revealed that Chadstone, owned by Colonial First State Property Trust and the Gandel Group, has the highest turnover of any centre in the country with a massive $1.4 billion. Not far behind was Westfield Bondi Junction, which recorded a 4.7% lift in sales turnover to $1 billion plus.

Shopping Centre News (SCN) ranks The Big Guns - Australia’s largest shopping centres - in terms of annual turnover, turnover per square meter and specialty shop turnover per square meter.

One of the most significant findings in the report was the jump in redevelopment projects. Shopping Centre News publisher, Michael Lloyd, said that this year nine Big Gun Centres – those with a leasable area of over 50,000 square metres - were under redevelopment compared to only one in 2013.

“The development pipelines are well underway” and "they account for around $3 billion in development costs", he said. The game had changed dramatically in the last five years, he pointed out with the huge global funds like the Canadian Pension Fund CPPI, the Abu Dhabi sovereign fund, the New York based Blackstone Private Equity Fund and the South Korean Pension Fund all taking stakes in some of the country's best centres and providing the funds for redevelopment.

The benefits of that redevelopment work was demonstrated by third and sixth placegetters on the Moving Annual Turnover ladder, said Mr Lloyd "Westfield Carindale (Qld) and Westfield Fountain Gate (Vic), both recently redeveloped, showed increases in annual turnover of 19.2% and 24% respectively - $908.5 million and $872.3 million,” he noted. Excluding the nine centres under redevelopment, the remaining 82 Big Guns shopping centres accounted for retail sales of $40.26 billion in 2013, up 2.7% on 2012.

While noting that since the GFC growth has been at a slower rate, SCN believes that the growth rate has bottomed and it forecasting an increase in turnover of around 5% in 2014.

The best performing centre - based on turnover per square metre of leaseable area which is considered the best measure of performance - was Mirvac’s Broadway shopping centre in Sydney. Its turnover per square metre was $11,506, a 10.7% increase over last year.

Specialty turnover - which only includes retailers with areas of less than 400 square metres - was the highest at Westfield Sydney at $16,482.

“This year we list 91 centres; more than half of them have specialty shop turnovers in excess of $9,000 per square meter, at that level it means a 100 square metre shop turns over an average of around $17,500 a week,” said Mr Lloyd.

A poignant point raised by Mr Lloyd in the report was the lack of response by retailers to the current demands by shoppers.

"Australia has the most sophisticated shopping centre development and management industry in the world”, he said.

“Our regional centres – the Big Guns - are more advanced than anywhere, but many of our retailers are dragging the chain". He believes that the majority of Australian retailers were yet to "rise to the standards of the top international ‘high street’ retailers; service levels are low, fit-out standards, lighting, merchandising and stock variety are lacking".

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