Unibail-Rodamco, Europe’s largest commercial property company, will add 35 shopping centres to its portfolio if its bid to buy US and UK mall operator Westfield for $16bn goes through.
People are increasingly choosing to shop at super malls, combining shopping with leisure and lifestyle and as Westfield is setting the bar high in terms of focus on overall experience, this takeover would be a good move for Unibail-Rodamco.
Life has been made tough for shopping centre operators by the likes of Amazon, driving consolidation in the sector.
Unibail-Rodamco will gain the top two so-called super malls in the UK – Westfield Stratford City and Westfield London – in terms of retail sales, according to GlobalData estimates as well as Croydon’s Westfield, which is in the pipeline.
The UK super malls market is forecast to grow by 7.2 percent over the next five years, reaching £12.3bn in 2022, and far outpacing that of the overall offline retail market in the UK.
This news comes just a week after property company, Hammerson, announced it had made a bid to take over rival firm, Intu, which would give the combined group a stake in 12 of the top 20 super malls in the UK.
Unibail’s move dwarfs Hammerson’s purchase of smaller rival Intu however, which came in at some $4.5bn.
Similarly to the Hammerson Intu deal, the Unibail-Rodamco Westfield takeover will allow the combined company to benefit from cost savings but more importantly, it will strengthen its position in the global retail market and gain a broader insight into global shopping trends.
The growth in super malls is boosted by people travelling to them for food and leisure and far more varied and attractive shops compared to the high street and town centre.