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Retailers to upsize at Westfield as more global brands increase store footprints

Chloe Burney
21 August 2023

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has revealed the continued growth in store upsizes at both Westfield UK shopping centres, as brands continue to propel the trend for innovative in-store experiences.

Continuing on from a trend that was established last year, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City have witnessed a surge in demand from retailers seeking to grow their physical store presence in 2023.

Last month, the company reported an 8.5% increase in net rental income to £985 million (€1.15 billion) for the first half of 2023. The total number of leasing deals signed was 1,180, up 11% against H1 2022. Tenant sales increased 9.2%, including 6.8% in the UK.

An example of this is Whistles, which expanded its store space from 1,980 to 2,052 sq ft at Westfield Stratford City. Not only have fashion retailers jumped on the trend, but also beauty. Rituals increased its store footprint from 1,009 to 2,043 sq ft.

2023 also saw key openings for brands embracing larger spaces to cater for increased demand, of course, this included Zara, which upped its store space by almost 30% at Westfield Stratford City.

Looking ahead, URW has a strong pipeline of continued openings scheduled for the second half of the year. In particular, there is a slew of beauty brands opening at Westfield. Building on the success of Sephora’s first UK store, which drove a 13% footfall increase at Westfield London on opening day in March 2023, the brand has just signed for a second store at Westfield Stratford City.

Fiolas also recently signed at Westfield London. These movements reflect the trend among beauty brands catering to consumers' growing desire for in-person shopping experiences.

The sportswear sector is also booming. New Balance has made deals with both Westfield centres to introduce its new store concept in the UK. Origin Kicks and Lids have also signed at Westfield Stratford City, not to mention JD Sports’ upsized flagship store at Westfield Stratford City, which will occupy 45,000 sq ft by 2024.

Kate Orwin, Leasing Director UK at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield UK, commented: "We've experienced a strong half year in retail leasing, primarily fuelled by a substantial demand for upsizing at both of our UK centres.

"Major brands are increasingly investing in our prime physical locations to offer customers unique and captivating in-store experiences. This impressive growth has been further amplified by the addition of renowned brands like Sephora and New Balance to our portfolio."

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