Westfield, Australia's shopping centre giant, despite the dropping economic winds in Europe, has announced it will embark on a $4.51bn (3.0 billion pounds) expansion thrust in Britain.
The proposed investment expansions, according to Steven Lowy, the group's co-chief executive, include expanding its Westfield London centre in Shepherds Bush and improving the Broadway centre in Bradford.
"They are big numbers, headline numbers, but we have already invested almost pound stg. 4bn in two major shopping centres in London over the past few years," Mr Lowy told The Australian in London.
"We have plans for further investment in those assets and for other expansion."
Plans to redevelop a shopping centre south of London are also being mulled.
"While the UK is still in recession and has been deeply impacted by the global financial crisis in Europe, London in particular has been shown to be a very resilient city, as has Paris (and) the major cities in Germany," he said.
"We believe in London for the long term."
Westfield, which posted a full-year net profit of A$1.53 billion (US$1.60 billion) in February, representing a 37.6 per cent jump over the previous year, holds investment interests in 111 shopping malls in Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Brazil and Britain.
The lesson of the global financial crisis, primarily in the UK background, according to Mr Lowy, was "to focus on developing the best assets in the best cities."
"We have focused on selling assets, either in the UK or the US, or even Australia, which are not assets of this quality," he said. "We are looking to continuously recycle capital and do it in a way that adds value all the time."
Westfield has two major upmarket centres in London, the 267-store Westfield Stratford which opened in September and the 200-store Westfield London.
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