Westfield Group’s first quarter performance results are solid and are in line with company expectations.

As its update for the three months to 31 March 2012, Westfield reported that comparable specialty retail sales for the 12 months were up 1.2 per cent and up 1.1 per cent for the quarter.

“The productivity of our Australian Portfolio continues to be high with specialty sales of approximately $9,800 a square metre, near full occupancy and good demand for space in both existing centres and new developments such as Fountain Gate in Victoria and Carindale in Queensland,” Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy AM, Westfield Group co-CEOs, said.

In New Zealand, comparable specialty retail sales continue to improve and were up 2.2 per cent for both the 12 months and the March quarter.

Average specialty rent for the Australian/New Zealand portfolio grew by 3.1 per cent from March 2011.

The Australian/New Zealand portfolio comparable net operating income growth forecast for 2012 remains unchanged in the range of 2.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent.

Meanwhile its sales for the 12 months at Westfield London were £968 million, up 7.1 per cent and up 2.2 per cent for the quarter. Strong performance was also achieved at Stratford, which achieved sales of close to £500m since opening in September 2011.

Currently, the group has $1.2 billion of projects under construction, with WDC’s share being $800m. WDC’s cost to complete these projects is approximately $300m.
The Group expects to commence between $1.25bn and $1.5bn (WDC share between $500m and $700m) of new developments in both 2012 and 2013.

“The first quarter of this year has been pleasing with the Group’s operations performing in line with expectations. Importantly, we announced a number of strategic initiatives that we expect will enhance the Group’s return on contributed equity and long term earnings growth profile,” Lowy said.