Today we announced strong 2019 half year results which demonstrate the long-term growth and sustainability of our business. We continue to enhance the most efficient platform for our retail partners to engage with their customers.
Retail is a dynamic sector. It has to be – it’s a direct reflection of the consumer and their changing preferences. There is no single view of retail – it comprises many different categories and sectors and the product, service and experience mix we curate across our 41 Westfield Living Centres reflects this.
We are focused on delivering what our customers want. Annual customer visitation across our portfolio is more than 535 million and growing. On average, our customers spend more than 80 minutes in our centres per visit. Occupancy is high at 99.3%.
Total annual sales across our platform has increased by $1.2 billion to $24.4 billion. To put that into perspective, retail sales across our platform account for more than 7% of all retail sales in Australia. More than 90% of retail sales in Australia still takes place in a physical store and physical stores are growing in the way they influence ecosystem sales.
During the half we introduced 118 new brands to our portfolio and 117 existing brands grew their store network with us. This recognises the role of highly productive physical stores in acquiring and retaining customers, building brand advocacy and influencing sales both in-store and online.
About 42% of the stores across our portfolio are now experience-based offerings and can only be consumed on-site.
We are excited about the future of our business and our ability to generate long-term sustainable growth. We will continue to invest in deepening our understanding of the customer and maintain our relentless focus on what they want.
Here is our CEO, Peter Allen, talking through the highlights: