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Westfield plans online shopping centre

Westfield Group is in the final planning stages for an online shopping mall with virtual tenants in an overhaul of online retailing in Australia.

WestfieldWestfield Group is the world’s largest listed retail property group, with a global portfolio of 119 shopping centres in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, valued at more than $59 billion. Westfield works with over 23,700 retailers across more than 10 million square metres of retail space.

Replicating Westfield’s ‘shopping centre experience’ online has been a difficult journey for Westfield, with the company’s traditional stakeholders, the retailers who populate their massive malls often taking divergent paths online, or being wholly tied to bricks and mortar retailing.

The Age reports that Westfield plans an online virtual shopping centre, complete with tenants paying rent and trolleys. Suggesting this will be more than an eBay style ‘online store’ experience.

Westfield’s billionaire owner, Frank Lowy, is reported to have resisted the move online, fearing it would undermine the bricks and mortar business for the group.

The Westfield Group has remained strong, reporting on the completion of nine major developments at a cost of $5.6 billion.

In 2009 Westfield chairman Frank Lowy emphasised the company’s strategy for surviving the global financial crisis.

They had a clear strategy to “own the best shopping centres in the best markets.”

“Shopping centres are irreplaceable components of urban and suburban infrastructure” and that consumers will continue to shop, no matter what the climate.”

Replicating the shopping centre experience online will be a hard ask for Westfield, but with the GFC now mostly behind the company in the countries it operates, now is the perfect time to strike.

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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