An independent report, ‘10 Years in the Making – the Socio-Economic Impact of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Centres in London’, reveals for the first time the socio-economic impact of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield destinations. The report was launched to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Westfield London’s opening.
The economic contribution of the two global flagship destinations – Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City – is estimated to be £22bn-£30bn in GVA over the next 20 years. Future developments with the opening of a new retail, dining and leisure destination in Croydon, new residential homes and the expansion of Westfield Stratford City, are expected to contribute a further £500m-£600m GVA per annum.
‘10 Years in the Making’ also highlights the transformative impacts of the more than £4bn invested in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield centres with a further £2bn+ expected with a new development in Croydon and a residential and retail expansion at Westfield Stratford City.
Through the creation of mixed-use developments which feature the best in retail, dining and leisure alongside offices, hotels and residential, the centres have acted as catalysts to further inward investment and have contributed to placemaking in key areas of London. There is currently £32bn worth of inward investment surrounding the three London sites of Shepherd’s Bush/White City, Stratford and Croydon which will bring new jobs, homes, offices and retail, alongside cultural and learning institutions.
The report outlines Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s contributions including:
- Over £200m on improving infrastructure and connectivity.
- Over £13.6m in education and training; Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield centres now support 32,000 jobs in the capital with over 12,000 being created through developments in Stratford and Croydon.
- More than 3,030 FTE construction jobs will have been created on completion of all planned construction, with a further 5,000+ people engaged in training or apprenticeships.
- 46% of the total value of construction contracts have been awarded to companies based in Greater London.
- The two centres in 2017 attracted 77 million customers and generated £2.2bn in retail sales. The centres are major destinations for tourists with 17 million tourist visitors in 2017.
Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business, said: “Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s London sites have had a huge impact on areas of the capital experiencing rapid, dynamic change and redevelopment over the last decade. The two centres have generated tens of thousands of jobs, provided substantial investment in local areas and attracted visitors from around the world. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s success – and their plans for the years to come – is another vote of confidence in the capital and concrete evidence that London is open for business.”
The report has been released to celebrate the official 10-year anniversary of Westfield London, now Europe’s largest centre following the completion of the £600m, 740,000 sq. ft. expansion, featuring 450 retail, dining and leisure outlets across 2.6m sq. ft. Westfield London has welcomed more than 270m visitors since 2008, generating over £9.2bn in sales. Sales have grown by 52% and footfall has increased by 25% over the past 10 years, demonstrating the enduring importance of retail in London and its value to the wider economy.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has also released new data revealing the key trends which have shaped Westfield London and the broader retail landscape over the past decade:
- Visitors to the destination now spend 90% more on dining, across 80 outlets, with 39% more outlets than 10 years ago and with the category generating almost £110m in sales.
- There are 50% more health and beauty outlets in Westfield London than in 2008. In 2017, health and beauty retailers generated £70m in sales, up 62% since 2008.
- Westfield London has established itself as a global tourist destination with close to 20% being tourist shoppers. Sales from the number one tourist country, China, have risen 165% since opening. The average spend for Chinese tourists in 2017 was £442 at Westfield London. However, for the luxury Chinese shopper in The Village, this jumped to £979.
- Automotive, a debut category in the centres and a trend seen more widely in retail, now amounts to 4% of total sales.
Christophe Cuvillier, group CEO of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, said: “In 10 years, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City have demonstrated their major contribution to the socio-economic development of London. Our centres are among the most vibrant destinations to meet, shop, connect and be entertained in London. We are proud of this collective achievement and are looking forward to the next 10 years to come. London is a world-class economic, financial and tourist destination, and our two London centres as well as our future destination in Croydon will continue to play an important role in the capital.”
Along with shaping the capital’s retail landscape, Westfield London has also been at the heart of one of London’s most important regeneration projects, the wider £8bn White City Opportunity Area.
Westfield London is a 50:50 joint venture between Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and German Commerz Real, a subsidiary of Commerzbank AG.
Andreas Muschter, CEO of Commerz Real, said: “Since its opening in 2008, Westfield London has displayed an outstanding performance, and now we are writing a further chapter in this success story together with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. The extensive further development of the centre takes into account the high level of demand from retailers. Great Britain, and in particular London, remains an important European market for us.”
Cllr Stephen Cowan, the Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: “Westfield London has brought jobs, genuinely affordable homes and economic vitality. More recently, it’s become central to our industrial strategy which seeks to build Hammersmith & Fulham into a global leader in the bio-tech, digital and arts sectors, and bring the best possible start-up and career opportunities for all our residents.”
Cllr Tony Newman, the Leader of Croydon Council, said: “Croydon’s new £1.4bn retail and leisure centre will deliver 7,000 new jobs for local people in the construction, retail and leisure industries, as well as nearly 1,000 new homes in our town centre. We look forward to work getting under way next year and to the wealth of opportunities this exciting project will bring to our local community as part of Croydon’s overall £5.25bn regeneration.”
Ed Cooke, chief executive, Revo, said: “At Revo, we know how great and sustained the contribution of retail property is all over the country from supporting jobs, skills, the development of major public realm, infrastructure and the resilience of communities overall. When you look at the numbers and the scope of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s impact on London it is truly phenomenal and a beacon of how retail property can be a game changer.”
The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “Westfield Stratford City played an important part in the story of what was Europe’s largest urban regeneration project at the time of the London 2012 Games. The centre brings a lot to Newham, with around a million shoppers every week, jobs, tourism and investment coming into our community. It has helped to build new infrastructure and transport links within our borough, as well as offering training and skills for our residents. The council is proud of the link it has developed with the centre since it opened in 2011 and how our residents have benefited.”