Westfield has backed down over a dispute with tenants over service charges after months of wrangling with retailers at its London shopping centre.
The Australian landlord had been battling with retailers including House of Fraser and Debenhams over charges at the centre. Westfield London had charged £14 per sq ft, about 50 per cent more than most other centres.
According to The Times, Westfield said that it had always intended to review the charge. Westfield managing director Michael Gutman said the charge would be adjusted. “Yes, there’ll be a reduction,” he said. “This is what we’ve been doing at our other seven buildings in the UK, where we recently reduced service charges by 10 per cent.”
The scheme has about 10 per cent of units vacant, including shops in the luxury area and restaurants.
One retailer told The Times: “We welcome the service charge move. It shows that Westfield is beginning to recognise the reality of the market.”
Gutman said no decision had been made over the size of the reduction. He said: “We’re starting to get to the point now at Westfield, with six months under our belt, of understanding the trading patterns of the building and getting a much more precise view of what the service costs should be.”