Scentre improves profits

Westfield InnalooUpdated

The owner of Westfield’s Australian and New Zealand shopping centres is concerned about slow discount fashion sales.

Scentre, which demerged from Westfield Corporation’s international business in June last year, expects to improve its earnings performance in 2015.

But the group’s CEO, Peter Allen, said the lower priced fashion category was suffering from deflation and new competition.

“There are regions where we’re seeing growth probably less than we would like, or our retailers would like,” he said.

“We’re seeing that sales are certainly challenged, in terms of growth … part of that is driven from their costs.”

Scentre has told the market it expects to grow its funds from operations by 3.5 per cent to 22.5 cents per security during the 2015 calendar year.

It also expects to make distributions of 20.9 cents per security for the year, after a distribution of 10.2 cents per security for the six months to December 31.

Allen said the level of earnings that were not paid out as dividends was insufficient to meet operating capital expenditure costs.

Distributions would therefore grow at a lower rate than retained earnings to fund business investment expenses.

Scentre Group operates 47 Westfield shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand.

Its share price fell one cent to $3.78 by 1051 AEDT.

AAP

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