Oct 27, 2022
Westfield-owner Unibail confirms recovery, hikes guidance again
Oct 27, 2022
Shopping mall owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield on Wednesday raised its guidance for the second time this year, as tenant sales for the first nine months of 2022 exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
The group, which counts Forum des Halles in Paris and Madrid's La Vaguada among its assets, now targets full-year adjusted recurring earnings per share of at least 9.10 euros ($9.16), compared to its upwardly revised forecast in July of at least 8.90 euros.
The Amsterdam-listed company said its strong third-quarter confirmed the positive trend seen in the first-half of the year. It added that it assumes no major disruptions to the macro-economic environment, or COVID-19 or energy-related restrictions in its outlook.
Mall owners have seen a return to more normal shopping trends with footfall and rent collection rebounding this year after two years of on-off restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
"Due to more productive visits, sales continue to outperform footfall," the company said. Total tenant sales hit 103% of 2019 levels in the third quarter while footfall in its more than 80 shopping centres across Europe and the United States reached 91% of pre-pandemic levels.
Unibail, which has been selling assets to reduce debt, delayed the completion of its European disposal programme to 2023 due to the current market conditions. It had previously said the 4 billion-euro disposal plan, 80% of which has already been completed, would be done by the end of 2022.
Total gross rental income rose 23% to 1.66 billion euros for the nine months to Sept. 30, driven by strong leasing activity, indexation and higher sales based rents, commercial partnerships and parking income in its shopping centres.
French rival Klepierre last week posted an increase in revenue and footfall as retail trends normalise.
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