Retailers unhappy with Westfield progress

Monday, 09 March 2009
Westfield, the owner of Europe's largest shopping centre, based in west London, is facing a revolt from cash-strapped retailers unhappy with progress at the giant mall, which opened in October.

With a number of closures, concerns about delays to the opening of a promised 14-screen cinema, footfall worries and increased service charges, a growing number of retailers are looking at ways to extricate themselves from the mall, stated the Independent on Sunday.

Many have signed up to rent space at Westfield on very flexible terms that entail smaller than usual exit penalties. One restaurateur said: "It's news to me that the cinema isn't opening until November. We had been promised earlier. Our operation is doing okay but I know of a number of other restaurants and retailers that are not happy at all." One retailer said: "It's all been horribly over-hyped. There's quite a lot of bad feeling brewing. The hike in service charges hasn't helped people at all. The whole thing is just badly timed."