30 Jun 2020

Customer visitation lifts as restrictions continue to ease and more stores open

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Scentre Group’s latest customer update supports what its Westfield Living Centres have witnessed throughout June - customers have followed through on what they told us they would do when restrictions eased – dined out, shopped for winter fashion and immediately resumed beauty services.

Approximately 92% of retail stores across Australian Westfield centres are open with 94% open across New Zealand Westfield centres. There are no physical distancing requirements in New Zealand since the move to alert level 1.

In Australia, more stores will open throughout July when restrictions on some entertainment, experience and dining categories are lifted such as cinemas, gyms and foodcourts.

Yet despite some category restrictions remaining in Australia, last weekend (27-28 June) customer visitation across Scentre Group’s Westfield portfolio returned to 86% of what it had been at the same time the year prior.

In some centres, daytime visitation (10am – 4pm) is back to 90% of what it had been compared with the same period last year. Night-time visitation is expected to lift throughout July as entertainment and leisure options open up.

Scentre Group Director Customer Experience, Phil McAveety, said: “The immediate uplift in customer visitation reflects our desire as social beings to engage with friends and family and experience products and services in person.

“What customers are telling us is that they want to get out and about again to their local centres because it’s part of their lives and daily activities. Customers are feeling assured by safety and hygiene measures in our centres and are feeling more confident as they move around their local communities, of which we are a major part.

“Consumer spending by category post restrictions matches the pandemic experience and easing of restrictions – supermarkets and premium food continue to perform well; youth-oriented and contemporary fashion has bounced back, as have beauty services. The night-time economy is expected to lift throughout July in line with further easing of restrictions on entertainment, leisure and dining.

“Many of our retail partners noted a spike in online sales during the height of the pandemic, particularly those that had closed their physical store network. Now that the vast majority of physical stores are open and trading, we’re seeing those retailers benefitting from the ‘network effect’ of an integrated strategy across both physical and digital channels that allows them more opportunities to engage with their customers, more often.

“Our Westfield Living Centre teams continue to adapt and adjust to government measures as restrictions ease. We thank our customers for their efforts to practice physical distancing and ask for their continued patience when they visit our centres.”

Read the full June Customer Update, here.

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