Woolworths will be selling $900 million of its retail sites from its portfolio.

The company said it plans to sell 30-plus neighbourhood and sub-regional shopping centres, including Ashgrove Marketplace in Queensland, Carnes Hill Marketplace in New South Wales and Pakington Strand in Geelong West, Victoria, before leasing back the sites on a long-term basis.

According to Ralph Kemmler, Woolworths director of property, the company is generally not a long term holder of property assets but rather has a history of delivering Marketplace style retail centres.

“We are continually reviewing opportunities for the disposal of property assets and amid improving market conditions in the retail sector, we now see an opportunity to place a portfolio of quality completed retail sites for tender, on the basis of sale and long term leaseback transaction,” he said.

“However, there is no urgency to dispose of the portfolio and we will happily continue to hold the properties on balance sheet should market conditions dictate this course of action.”

The disposal program will commence in the next few weeks. Woolworths have appointed Moelis & Company and CB Richard Ellis to assist with the transaction.