Things appear to be looking up for Westfield Group as it confirmed its operational earnings guidance of $1.7 billion for 2011.

The company reported that specialty store sales for the months combined of March and April 2011, which included the Easter period, in Australia were up 4.4 per cent and 3.6 per cent in New Zealand on the same period last year.

Similarly, positive results were seen in the US with a 7 per cent increase and Westfield London saw sales grow by almost a whopping 20 per cent.

Addressing Westfield’s shareholders at the annual general meeting for the last time before retiring as the company’s chairman, Frank Lowy said the company’s global portfolio are performing strongly.

“This is quite strong and consistent evidence that retail conditions in all these markets are improving and we hoping that this trend will continue,” he said.

Looking forward, Lowy said there’s no reason for the company to not look towards a positive future.

“The Global Financial Crisis is for all practical purposes behind us and there is more reason than ever to believe the broad economic outlook is more positive than it has been for some time,” he said.

In the next five to seven years, Westfield expects to commence more than $10 billion of development activities around the world, including the UTC centre in San Diego, California, the first major development in the US in four years.

The company is also completing the opening of the retail concept of the new Westfield Sydney and the office component is on track to open around April next year.

“This centre has already had a very positive impact on the CBD and has given shoppers access to a range and quality of retail not seen here before,” Lowy said.

“Centres like Westfield Sydney and our new centre at Stratford are rewriting the rules about what a shopping centre can be and the type of retailers and services it can offer.”