The Story of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield – Learnings for Shopping Centre Businesses

  • Mar 18, 2020 AEDT
  • Team Kalkine
The Story of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield – Learnings for Shopping Centre Businesses

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX: URW) is a leading global developer as well as operator of flagship destinations with a portfolio worth €65.3 billion as at 31 December 2019. Of the total portfolio, 86% comprises of retail, 6% accounts for offices, 5% in convention & exhibition venues and the remaining 3% in services.

URW, which has operations in 2 continents and across 12 nations, catering to around 1.2 billion visitors at its centres every year, has 90 shopping centres, which entail fifty-five flagships in regions including the US and Europe. While delivering a unique platform for brand events as well as retailers, the Company focuses on providing outstanding experience to its customers.

Backed by a team of 3,600 professionals and an unparalleled track record and knowledge, the Company is well positioned to build world-class projects and generate superior value. 

Let us know how the Company achieved this premier position within the global real estate sector.

URW Journey So Far - Important Events 

In 1959, John Saunders and Frank Lowy started their first shopping centre known as Westfield Plaza in Blacktown, Australia. Since then, the Company has grown to become one of the largest shopping centre owners and managers in the world.

Below are some of the major events during the Company’s journey so far.  

 

 

Business Operations - Offering the Best Customer Experience

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield provides the best customer experience through its excellent facilities, bold digital marketing, exclusive design, distinguishing superior retailers and encouraging events. The Company aims to provide its customers with a better brand experience.

The shopping destinations attract the best retail offer for its customers that are top players from luxury, fashion, health, lifestyle, technology entertainment and relaxation.  

Innovation Strategy

With innovation at the heart of its strategy, the Company believes that through innovation, it would stay ahead and would be able to transform an ever-evolving industry, while serving its ambition to be the choice for brands, retailers, and customers.

The Company rolled out URW Lab in the year 2012, targeted towards structuring innovation within the Group and speeding up their complete digital transformation, while open innovation platform, URW Link was launched in 2015.

 ‘Grand Prix Commerce Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’ was rolled out in the years 2007, which delivers concepts that can be developed within the Company’s shopping centres, recognising as well as aiding retail innovation.

URW FY2019 Performance (period ended 31 December 2019)

From 1 January 2019 till 31 December 2019, the Company reported net operating income of €118.5 million and net profit of €87.8 million. Thus, EPS for the year was €0.37.

The Company declared that it would propose a cash dividend of €10.80 for each share and would be paid by URW SE (Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield S.E) depending on shareholder approval during annual general meeting scheduled on 15 May 2020.

During the year, some of the projects delivered included Westfield Oakridge Large Box transformation, renovation of Westfield Topanga and Westfield Valencia Town Center, and Palisade at Westfield UTC.

On a proportionate basis, the Gross Market Value of the Group’s assets amounted to €15.2 billion as at 31 December 2019. 

Market Update On COVID-19

The Company recently provided a market update on the impact of COVID-19 on its business.  Owing to the pandemic, the government has taken several measures in the market where URW operates to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Company confirmed that these measures would have an impact on the Group’s operations.

At present, the focus of the Company is to safeguard the health and safety of its tenants, employees as well as the visitors. Further, URW is monitoring guidelines provided by the World Health Organization, in addition to national, local and regional governments, while adjusting its functions accordingly.

The impact is also being observed in the Convention & Exhibition business of the Group, as the French government has put a check on any events of more than 100 people.

The Company, at this point, is not in a position to determine the impact of this situation on the contractual obligations of its retailers and other partners. URW is in active discussions with tenants and is eliminating non-staff expenditures, deferring non-essential capital spending and make use of any appropriate facilities or arrangements provided by numerous national authorities to help corporations during the crisis.

Stock Information

URW stock has delivered a negative YTD return of ~ 59% and was trading downward by ~ 7% to A$4.270 on 18 March 2020 (AEDT 03:09 PM). URW has a market cap of A$12.73 billion and approximately 2.77 billion outstanding shares.


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