Westfield began in 1959 with one shopping centre in the outer suburbs of Sydney, Australia and grew to become one of the world’s largest shopping centre owners and managers, playing a major role in changing the way the world shops.
Throughout its history, Westfield has changed its corporate structure to create greater value and choice for investors. In December 2013 Westfield announced a proposal to separate its Australian and New Zealand business from its international operations, creating two new, independent companies – Westfield Corporation to own and operate the northern hemisphere assets, and Scentre Group, to own and manage Westfield Group’s Australian and New Zealand operations.
In June 2018, Unibail-Rodamco merged with Westfield Corporation in the biggest M&A transaction in Australian coporate history.
Westfield World Trade Center
Westfield's most ambitious project to date in the United States, the $1.5 billion World Trade Center, opened in August 2016. This new New York city experience brings together commerce, community and culture in the spectacular Santiago Calatrava designed Oculus.
After being named one of the "Most Innovative Companies" by Fast Company Magazine in 2015, Westfield Labs evolved to become Westfield Retail Solutions (WRS). WRS continues Westfield's focus to partner with the world's leading brands and retailers to give consumers innovative digital and physical commerce experiences.
The Split of Westfield Group
On 30 June 2014 Westfield Group split to create two companies - Scentre Group who continues to manage the Westfield portfolio of centres in Australia and New Zealand; and Westfield Corporation who owns and operates the US, UK and European portfolio.
Shift in Focus
Westfield divests centres across the US and UK to focus on owning and operating flaship centres in the world's leading cities. In 2015, Westfield Corporation had a portfolio of 34 centres across the US and UK/Europe, 82% of which were flaship assets. The company had $29 billion in Assets under Management and a $10.5 billion development program. Westfield also launches Bespoke in the San Francisco Centre, a dedicated space for start-ups to develop and test their technologies.
Technology and Innovation
Understanding and harnessing the potential of digital technology led to the creation of Westfield Labs in 2012 based int he global hub of innovation, San Francisco.
Westfield enters Europe
In 2011 Westfield announced the Group's first iconic projkect in Europe. A joint venture with Stilo Immobiliare Finanziaria, the 60 hectare site in Milan, one of the world's fashion capitals, is set to become Italy's largest retail and leisure destination, with the first Galeries Lafayette department store for Italy. Westfield also expanded into Brazil in 2011 through a joint venture partnership with Almedia Junior.
However, this did not last, with Westfield exiting the partnership in 2013.
The Gateway to the 2012 London Olympics
The gateway to the 2012 London Olympic Games, the £1.75 billion Westfield Stratford City opened. As Europe's largest shopping centre of its time with 1.9 million square feet of retail, a new town centre with residential, commercial and leisure space including two hotels and international transport connectivity, Westfield Stratford transformed the east side of London.
The centre is also one of the UK's most sustainable, generating 75% of its own energy requirements.
The $1.2 billion project at Westfield Sydney changed the face of retailing in downtown Sydney with a mix of international and domestic luxury and high street retailers and premium dining precinct saw the centre achieve the highest specialty sales productivity in the Group's global portfolio in its first year.
Westfield opens the UK's largest Shopping Centre
The London Mayor, Boris Johnson was part of the official opening Westfield London, the United Kingdom's largest urban shopping centre, covering nine postcdoes, an area bigger than Buckingham Palace and its gardens. The £1.7 billion flaship centre opened with more than 280 stores and attracted 23 million visitors in its first year.
Global Flagship centres
Flagship centres opened at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Century City in California and in San Francisco as well as Doncaster in Melbourne while redevelopments continued globally (more than 20 since the decade's beginning) peaking in 2007 with the completion of five projects in four countries over four weeks.
Birth of the Westfield Group
Westfield Group was born when Westfield Holdings, Westfield Trust and Westfield America Trust merged in the company's most significant corporate restructure, creating the world's largest retail property group by equity market capitalisation.
AMP Shopping Centre Trust
Westfield acquired the $1.9 billion AMP Shopping Centre Trust, adding interest in a further nine high quality shopping centres. The Australian portfolio grew further with the strategic acquisition of Sydney Central Plaza in the city's CBD.
Westfield becomes one of the largest retail property groups in the US
Nine shopping centres were acquired in the United States were acquired in the United States in the US$756 million Richard E Jacobs transaction. In the same year the US$2.3 billion Rodamco transaction added another 14 malls to the Group's American portfolio, and consolidated its position as one of the largest retail property groups in the United States.
Westfield in the heart of Sydney
The Group acquired Sydney's Centrepoint shopping centre - the home of the iconic Sydney Tower and site of the future Westfield Sydney City.
Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
In Australia, Westfield was a major sponsor of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Westfield enters the United Kingdom
Westfield enters the United Kingdom with the acquisition of a centre in Nottingham followed by the establishment of a joint venture interest in nine centres in prime town centre and urban locations. In Australia, the Group was a major sponsor of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Westfield acquired the US$1.4 billion TrizecHahn portfolio adding a further 12 properties to the Group's Californian portfolio, making it the state's biggest shopping centre operator. Following the US portfolio growth, a significant branding opportunity became apparent and every centre owned by the Group in the United States was branded Westfield.
Westfield enters New Zealand
Westfield entered New Zealand after assuming management of the St Lukes portfolio, the country's largest shopping centre group with 10 centres across 4 cities.
Westfield America Trust
Westfield America Trust was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange enabling Australian investors to make direct investments in the US retail property market.
Portfolio Expansion continues in Australia
Portfolio expansion continued in Australia with redevelopments, openings and new centres coming under the Group's management. Across the decade 16 centres were redeveloped and the portfolio grew from 21 to 30 centres.
Westfield triples its US portfolio
Westfield tripled the amount of space it managed in the United States with the US$1 billion CenterMark transaction, which saw the Group acquire 19 centres across America including Topanga, and Plaza Bonita in California and Annapolis in Maryland.
Growth in Australia
In Australia major redevelopments were completed at Doncaster (Melbourne) and Liverpool and Miranda in Sydney. On its completion, Miranda became Australia's largest shopping centre and the first with more than 300 stores.
Full Steam ahead in Australia
Two major Sydney centres opened in 1987, at Chatswood and Eastgarden, which became home to Australia's first cinema in a shopping centre. Warrawong in Wollongong opened in 1988, and redevelopments were completed at Figtree, Southland, Parramatta, Marion, Belconnen and Strathpine, as well as Indooroopilly and Hurstville.
John Saunders steps down
After 30 years of partnership, John Saunders relinquished his active management in Westfield, stepping away from the business entirely in 1990.
That same year, new centres opened at Chatswood and Eastgardens in Sydney.
Bidding for three Macy's centres
Westfield made business headlines when it outbid other parties to successfully acquire three prestigious centres in the Macy's transaction. The acquisition included the powerhouse centre Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey.
Firsts for Westfield in the US
In a series of firsts, the Group undertook a major redevelopment at Westside Pavilion, Los Angeles after demolishing most of the existing centre.
The new mall featured the first rooftop carpark in the United States, and was the drawcard that finally brought department store Nordstrom to Los Angeles.
Cliff Young wins the Westfield marathon
At 61 years of age, and a potato farmer by trade, Cliff Young became the unlikely winner of an ultra-marathon race from Sydney's Westfield Parramatta to Melbourne's Westfield Doncaster. He denied himself sleep and raced with a signature energy-conserving shuffle to gradually overtake the other competitors and finish with a new course record.
The Westfield Trust
After three profitable years of The Westfield Property Trust, regulation changes from the Federal Government persuaded Westfield to consider a different structure, and in 1982 Westfield Trust was floated on the Sydney Stock Exchange as a successor to Westfield Property Trust.
Acquisitions in America
In 1980 Westfield acquired three new centres in the United States, in California, Michigan and Connecticut. The company also acquired the Macy's portfolio in 1986, and established its United States head office in Los Angeles in 1987. By 1988 there were seven centres in Westfield's US portfolio worth $1.1bn.
In 1979 Westfield remodelled its capital structure with the establishment and listing of Westfield Holdings Limited and Westfield Property Trust to meet changing trends in the capital market.
Westfield enters America
Although Westfield had been keeping an eye on the US since the late 1950s, it wasn't until a shift in oversees regulations took place that the company made its first US acquisition in Trumbull, Connecticut on the east coast of America.
Gaining Financial Sophistication
By continually fine-tuning its financial strategy, Westfield's profit before tax from income-producing properties rocketed to 85 percent in 1975. Although they were operating in economically unsettling times, Westfield's directors were certain that increasing rental income would be sufficient to maintain profitability.
A steadily growing portfolio
During the 1970s Westfield consistently laid the foundations for what the company would become today. In the space of a single decade, six new centres were built and another five redeveloped including Indooroopilly in Brisbane and Parramatta in Sydney.
New head office at Westfield Tower
Sydney's William St, the eastern corridor to the city, was earmarked to become a grand boulevard in the early 1970s. Westfield bought 2.6 acres fronting William St, and while the dream to transform the precinct was never realised by city planners, Westfield's global headquarters remained there until 2011.
Westfield opens Doncaster in Victoria, the first centre for Westfield in that State.
In 1967, the company opened Toombul in Queensland.
A major opening
In 1966n when Burwood opened, it was praised as one of the most beautiful indoor shopping centres in the world. Burwood was the first shopping centre with a major department store, and importantly, was the first centre to be branded with the Westfield logo.
By the end of 1962, the Westfield portfolio had grown to eight centres either completed or under development in Sydney.
Westfield's first project
The first purpose-built centre, funded by the recent float, opened at Hornsby at a cost of £345,000. With 22 stores - and generating 250 jobs in retail - it played a major role in attracting residents to the area.
If you had invested $1000...
A shareholder who invested $1000 in Westfield in 1960 and kept their shares for 50 years - providing they reinvested all dividends and bonus issues - would have, by the end of 2009, made about $159 million (according to ASX/S&P Index Services). This investment return is unrivalled in Australia.
Going public on the Australian Stock Exchange
Westfield was incorporated in June 1960, and shortly afterwards, Saunders and Lowy issued a prospectus for its listing on the Sydney Stock Exchange. In September Westfield Development Corporation Ltd was floated with the issue of 300,000 ordinary shares at a price of five shillings each.
The first Westfield Shopping Centre opens in Blacktown.
On 2 July 1959 John Saunders and Frank Lowy opened their first shopping centre - Westfield Plaza in Blacktown. WIth 12 shops, 2 department stores and a supermarket, people flocked to see the plaza which newspapers of the day described as 'the most modern American-type combined retail centre'. By year-end Westfield Plaza was established as Blacktown's commercial hub.