Westfield Group has sold eight shopping centres in the US for US$1.15 billion.

Westfield Group Co-CEO Peter Lowy said the proceeds will initially pay down corporate debt and then be redeployed in higher return redevelopment opportunities in the US, including the World Trade Centre.

“We have previously flagged the potential divestment of non-core assets in the US and this transaction is an important step in the repositioning of our portfolio to major retail assets with strong franchise characteristics,” he said.

Starwood Capital Group has formed a new retail format that will acquire a majority of the seven shopping centres from Westfield for US$1 billion. Starwood will manage and control the platform with Westfield retaining a 10 per cent interest.