Westfield Group is planning new projects in 2008 worth more than $4 billion including Stratford City (London) and Sydney, the company said in its first quarter operational presentation.

Currently, 12 major projects are under construction worth about $5.7 billion, of which Westfield pays $3.8 billion – seven in the US, four in Australia and New Zealand and one in the UK (London). The company expects to complete nine of these projects this year including Doncaster in Melbourne and Geelong.

Westfield stated that occupancy levels were high across all markets with continued demand from retailers for space.

However, while sales continued to grow in Australia and the UK, it was slowing in New Zealand and the United States as consumers were easing back on spending.

For the March quarter 2008, sales in the US fell 1.5 per cent. In New Zealand it was worse, with sales falling 2.2 per cent. And Australian consumers are not likely to continue to spend big while facing more interest rises and an uncertain economic climate.