Westfield expands into Europe

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The Independent Online

Westfield, the world's biggest shopping centre company, is in talks to expand into Europe.

The Australian company, which is behind the massive shopping centres in London's Shepherd's Bush and Stratford, is bidding against rival property developers for projects in Belgium and Italy.

The Brussels-based scheme will be called Uplace Machelen. In Italy Westfield is in talks with Gruppo Percassi to develop a shopping centre to the east of Milan.

The UK is a notoriously difficult and slow place to develop shopping centres and some have argued the country has peaked in terms of new schemes. After Stratford opens in September, Westfield's next UK development will be to extend Broadmarsh centre in Nottingham.

The 1.9m sq ft Stratford City shopping centre is close to the 2012 Olympic site.

Frank Lowy, the founder of Westfield, which runs 119 shopping centres worth $58.2bn globally, has said it is looking at new markets.