All steady at Westfield

Westfield and its Westfield Retail Trust offshoot have reported steady sales for the third quarter, with the US and Europe eclipsing Australia with improved consumer sentiment.

Westfield and its Westfield Retail Trust offshoot have reported steady sales for the third quarter, with the US and Europe eclipsing Australia with improved consumer sentiment.

For Australia, new leasing spreads remained lower than existing or renewals of leases, reflecting the tough outlook, particularly in apparel. But the spread at minus 6 per cent for both companies, unchanged from the half-year report, indicated that conditions had bottomed.

For the year ending September, comparable specialty sales rose by 1.9 per cent in Australia and New Zealand, and 4.5 per cent in the US, reflecting the better conditions overseas.

This will be boosted when the US spends up at the annual "black Friday" sales at Thanksgiving on November 28.

Analysts said the sales growth cemented the trend that the US operations were the powerhouse in the past year, as the Australian market hit its trough.

Westfield co-chief executive Steven Lowy reconfirmed its 2013 forecast for funds from operations of 66.5¢ a security, an increase of 2.3 per cent on the previous year, and a distribution forecast at 51¢ a security, up 3 per cent.

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