Latest retail property news

Scentre Group tips retail recovery

Scentre Group, the owner and operator of Westfield shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand, has reported a positive March 2020 quarterly operational update, signalling its belief in a strong retail recovery.

All its centres took a hit across the board during the lockdown. As government restrictions were implemented, foot traffic fell during March and April to a low of 39 per cent of the previous year’s level, compared with the 1.9 per cent increase experienced in January and February.

January and February 2020 total in-store sales were up 3.6 per cent, but March sales were down 17.6 per cent over the previous corresponding period.

However, during the quarter, 496 leasing deals were completed, representing approximately 80,000 square metres of GLA.

Trade is gradually resuming along with customer visitation. In Australia, 57 per cent of Scentre retailers – representing 70 per cent of GLA – are now open, with more reopenings scheduled over the coming weeks.

In New Zealand, its centres are moving to ease to level two restrictions, which eased on Wednesday 13th nationally.

The group, however, has reassessed its major development projects. Work on the new Kmart at Westfield Carindale continues, with the discount retailer scheduled to open in the second half of 2020.

However, at Westfield Mt Druitt, construction of the rooftop entertainment, leisure and dining precinct has been deferred.

YFG buys rest of Mt Ommaney

YFG Shopping Centres has moved to full ownership of Brisbane’s Mt Ommaney Shopping Centre, acquiring the remaining 75 per cent interest in the property from Nuveen Real Estate for $285 million.

YFG bought its 25 per cent stake in the centre late last year from Vicinity Centres.

According to Business News Australia, the price represents a minuscule premium in square metre terms on the price paid last year, itself a 3.3 per cent premium to the book value.

CBRE negotiated the transaction on behalf of Nuveen Real Estate, one of the largest investment managers in the world, with $180 billion of assets under management globally.

YFG, which is owned and operated by Brisbane’s Fu family, controls 20 shopping centres in southeast Queensland, including Australia Fair on the Gold Coast and Brookside Shopping Centre in Brisbane’s north. Retail First will continue to manage the property.

Nuveen Real Estate’s other retail assets in Australia include a half stake in the Greenwood Plaza in North Sydney and a 33 per cent stake in Myer Bourke Street, Melbourne.

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