Retailers trading from four big shopping centres, managed and majority-owned by New Zealand's largest mall business, pushed up sales $400 million to make $1.6 billion in the latest year, with Christchurch the most lucrative place by far.

Retailers at Westfield Riccarton made $535.6m annual sales (last year $531.3m) , followed by $422.8m (previously $407.7m) by retailers at Albany, $363.1m (previously $347m) at Auckland's St Lukes, $293.4m (previously $280.9m) at Manukau but none from the giant Newmarket which has been demolished and where a $790m redevelopment is underway.

Westfield Newmarket as it was in May last year. Photo/Michael Craig
Westfield Newmarket as it was in May last year. Photo/Michael Craig

In 2017, retailers made $1.56m sales at the five centres.

The numbers were declared on February 20 to the ASX by Scentre Group for the year to December 31, 2018. That business owns the Westfield-branded centres here and previous sales data was from the year to December 31, 2017.

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Retail spending in New Zealand has risen lately according to data from Statistics NZ on February 12 which showed core retail spending on credit and debit cards rose a seasonally adjusted 2.2 per cent in January, reversing December's 1.7 per cent decline. Including petrol and vehicle-related spending, purchases were up 1.8 per cent. That was led by a 5.1 per cent lift in spending on durable goods, such as hardware, appliances, and furniture. Spending was up across all categories except fuel, which was down 0.5 per cent in the month.

Read more:
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Value of Westfield malls shoot up in latest Scentre Group result

Scentre declared assets of $1.3b in this country in its latest accounts, saying it was holding the leading position in the shopping centre sector in New Zealand. Yet by gross floor area, New Zealand only accounts for 6 per cent of gross lettable area of Scentre's Australasian portfolio.

New Zealand is the second smallest geographic location for Scentre by gross lettable area: New South Wales is 39 per cent, Victoria 19 per cent, Queensland 17 per cent, South Australia 8 per cent, West Australia 7 per cent, New Zealand 6 per cent and ACT 4 per cent.

Scentre says it owns "four of the top five centres in New Zealand" – a reference to the fact that rival and NZX-listed Kiwi Property owns Sylvia Park, with a combined floor area of more than 10ha or 100,000sq m-plus including the lifestyle centre across Mt Wellington Highway from the main shopping centre.

Scentre's accounts gave a breakdown of sales and data on its operations in this country and declared earnings in New Zealand dollars. It has 51 per cent of the malls here and the other 49 per cent is controlled by a Singapore government investment fund.

Westfield Albany (51 per cent Scentre) with 146 retailers is 51 per cent owned by Scentre, is on a 20.8ha site with 2373 carparks. Retailers there made annual sales of $422.8m in the December 31, 2018 year. Scentre plans to expand that mall but no firm dates have been announced for that.

Scentre's plans for Westfield Newmarket.
Scentre's plans for Westfield Newmarket.

Westfield Manukau City (51 per cent Scentre) made $293.4m total annual sales. It has 189 retailers, is a 45,262sq m centre and has 2113 carparks. It was acquired in 1998 and Scentre's share of it is valued at $219.3m.

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Westfield Riccarton (51 per cent Scentre) had $535.6m annual sales from its 196 retailers who trade from 55,568sq m of gross lettable area. Shoppers have 2400 carparks.
Westfield St Lukes (51 per cent Scentre) has 174 retailers trading on 39,751sq m and making annual retail sales of $363.1m. That mall has 2018 carparks but Scentre plans to expand it, having bought many surrounding properties to push out to the north.

Westfield Newmarket (51 per cent Scentre) will have 230 specialty retailers when it opens in the fourth quarter of this year, between September 1 and December 31. It is also 51 per cent owned by Scentre. Demolition work across two blocks started there in early last year and Scentre's share of redevelopment is $400m, the business said.

The total annual retail spend in the Westfield Newmarket trade area was estimated to be around $9.7b last year, Scentre said. Wealthy people live there.

"At $99,447 per annum, the average household income in the main trade area in 2015 was 10 per cent above the Auckland region average of $90,799," Scentre said in the results presentation which went to the ASX today.