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Westfield operator's $3b hit as pandemic hammers retail

Business

Westfield shopping centres operator Scentre has reported a massive bottom line half-year loss, after writing down the value of its 42 properties in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Scentre Group has posted a net operating loss of $3.6 billion for the six months ending June 30, following the $4.1 billion write-down as well as a $232 million credit charge related to the pandemic.

Revenue from its properties totalled $1.1 billion, down 16 per cent compared to the same period last year.

“In-store sales for our retail partners were impacted by the pandemic and the associated restrictions on people movement,” Scentre said.

Total like-for-like in-store sales fell by 8.1 per cent while in-store speciality sales dropped 12 per cent, with the worst declines occurring in NSW (14.2 per cent), Victoria (14 per cent) and New Zealand (19.8 per cent).

But CEO Peter Allen said while this had been a difficult time for customers and retail partners, the underlying fundamentals of the group’s business remained strong.

“The business is well-positioned to deliver long term sustainable returns for security holders through economic cycles,” he said in a statement.

“We own and operate major essential social infrastructure in the best locations close to where people live.”

-AAP

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