Westfield America Trust is cautious about the state of the US economy for
the next six months, saying consumers are fickle, spending one month and saving
The trust's managing director, Peter Lowy, said retailers were trying to keep
margins strong and avoid too much discounting, and that was flowing through to
the shopping centres as higher revenue.
As a result, the trust reported an 8.9 per cent rise in distributions to
7.35c a unit for the six months to June 30.
Mr Lowy forecast a 15.3c distribution to unit holders for the year to
``At the start of [calendar] 2002, government retail figures showed a rise
but we had falling sales," he said.
``And now consumer confidence seems to be picking up at a time when the
official figures are falling.
``Consumer confidence is extremely poor ... but consumers are looking for
value rather than capital items such as furniture, and that has helped some
Mr Lowy said retailers were being careful not to discount too much.
Westfield's higher distribution was due to a 78 per cent rise in interim net
profit to $163.1 million.
The result included two months contribution from the 23 shopping centres
acquired from Dutch-owned Rodamco North America and the Richard E Jacobs group
earlier this year, with a total value of about $6 billion.
Westfield America units fell 2c to $1.96.