Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Quake-hit mall is top of the shops

Westfield Riccarton was the biggest earner. Photo / APN
Westfield Riccarton was the biggest earner. Photo / APN

A shopping centre in earthquake-hit Christchurch was the star performer in New Zealand for global mall owner Westfield last year.

Westfield is New Zealand's largest shopping centre landlord with 12 malls worth $1.4 billion which put through $2.2 billion of sales in the December year. Despite a few vacancies the portfolio is 99.5 per cent occupied.

Westfield Group yesterday announced its full-year results to December 31 and its accounts showed how earthquake-hit Christchurch makes more money than any other New Zealand city.

Riccarton mall made total annual sales in the December year of $407.1 million. The mall was shut for just over a week following the February 22 earthquake, and also lost half a day's trading after the December 23 aftershocks.

Next on the list was Westfield Albany at $305 million followed by St Lukes which made $267.4 million. Newmarket's 277 made $131.7 million, Hamilton's Chartwell $125.5 million and Downtown in Auckland's CBD $68.1 million.

The biggest annual retail sales growth was at Riccarton, up 16.3 per cent, followed by Downtown up 5.8 per cent. The biggest drop was at Chartwell, down 16 per cent.

Most other malls showed a smaller variance in retail sales growth. Shore City was up 1.8 per cent, and Albany up 2.8 per cent.

Westfield (NZ) has 437,483 sq m of total lettable area in New Zealand and 1711 retailers trading from its malls.

Riccarton is also the star performer in terms of having the largest number of tenants at 198 stores, followed by St Lukes, which Westfield plans to double in size, at 194 tenancies.

Riccarton also remains the largest of Westfield's investments in New Zealand, at 55,205sq m, followed by Albany at 53,165sq m and Queensgate at 51,735sq m. Overall, the value of Westfield's real estate investment here dropped from $1.46 billion in the December 2010 year to $1.45 billion.

Craig Tyson, OnePath equity investment manager in Auckland, praised the numbers.

OnePath has a $35 million investment in Westfield.

Westfield Group's net income climbed to A$881.8 million ($1.13 billion) in the six months to December 31, from A$153.1 million a year ago - an increase of 476 per cent.

The company yesterday said it had formed a A$4.8 billion joint venture with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Canada Pension will become a 45 per cent joint-venture partner in a portfolio of 12 US properties.

- Additional reporting: Bloomberg

- NZ Herald

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