Westfield Corporation, owner of the well-known shopping centre brand, is being acquired by property group Unibail-Rodamco for $24.7bn.
According to the BBC, Unibail-Rodamco said the takeover would result in a “progressive roll-out of the world famous Westfield brand”.
The news comes hot on the heels of another major deal involving shopping centres.
Earlier this month, Hammerson, owner of the Bullring in Birmingham, announced a £3.4bn bid for Intu whose portfolio includes the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester.
Both deals come at a time when shopping centres are increasingly looking to reinvent the traditional mall offering. They are doing this in order to compete with the march of e-commerce.
The longer shoppers stay, the more they will spend
According to retail and commercial expert, Kate Hardcastle, Westfield shopping centres are popular with customers because ‘they’re not just places to buy things’:
“They try to be aspirational destinations that seek to entertain and include everyone. In their luxury sections there is never an aloof atmosphere which makes people feel unwelcome.
“Importantly they have also invested in good quality, clean toilets and baby changing areas which are an on-going expense. It is all about keeping shoppers in a retail space because the longer they stay there the more they will spend.”
But Hardcastle also warns that the company will have to continue innovating to keep the competition at bay.
Christophe Cuvillier, Chief Executive of Unibail-Rodamco reportedly plans to roll out the Westfield brand across its flagship shopping centres. These are in areas such as Paris, Barcelona, Vienna and Warsaw.
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