Westfield Group Adds Grocery to Suburban Chicago Center

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Developer Integrating Grocery into Traditional Retail

This exciting approach of refreshing the prevailing retail mix delivers unprecedented convenience to our customers and new opportunity for our retail partners.

Officials with Westfield today announce the addition of a 20,000 square foot ALDI grocery store to Westfield Chicago Ridge, an 800,000+ square foot regional shopping center outside of Chicago in southern Cook County, IL. This will be the first ALDI store located inside a regional mall in the United States.

Adding grocers to its centers illustrates Westfield's innovative approach to accommodating consumers' busy lifestyles. According to a 2009 online survey conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), when shoppers were asked what types of stores and services they'd like to see at their local mall, having a grocery store was among the top three requests.

Slated to open May, 2011, the new ALDI will occupy the space which formerly housed Steve & Barry's. The store's interior is currently being redesigned to accommodate an interior entrance and the convenience of five spacious check-out lanes. Shoppers will also enjoy a special "loading zone" at the mall entry for enhanced convenience when loading groceries into their cars.

"Westfield is leading the industry in integrating grocery stores into the traditional U.S. regional mall environment," said Chris Barnett, Westfield senior vice president. "This exciting approach of refreshing the prevailing retail mix delivers unprecedented convenience to our customers and new opportunity for our retail partners."

Grocers located in regional and super-regional shopping centers get immediate return. The stores benefit from drawing customers through mall traffic and from a larger trade area than a typical neighborhood grocery store. ICSC reports that a typical grocer trade area only draws from one to two miles, compared to regional mall trade areas that draw from ten to twenty times this distance.

According to data derived from online surveys of Westfield mall shoppers, the majority of customers had not planned to shop at mall specialty stores and the grocer, but did end up shopping at both. Customers embraced the convenience by shopping first at retail stores then concluding their trip at the grocery. The survey also indicated that respondents "love the convenience" of 'one stop' shopping.

"Introducing the new grocery category to our shopping centers is first and foremost a valuable new option for our customers, and a very positive move for our grocery store partners," adds Barnett. "We plan to expand this concept throughout our U.S. portfolio and are currently talking to a number of grocers."

"We are pleased to partner with Westfield on this fresh new approach to shopping convenience," said Mike Jessen, divisional vice president with ALDI. "The success of this concept has been illustrated at a number of shopping centers, and it's clear that mall shoppers embrace the convenience of one-stop shopping. We are excited to open our first ALDI location inside a regional mall in the United Sates."

ALDI grocery stores offer "honest to goodness savings" through the brand's combination of national purchasing power, streamlined operations and stringent quality standards. ALDI's everyday low prices are usually lower than supermarket "sale" prices.

ALDI opened the first US store in 1976. Today, ALDI has more than 1100 stores in 31 states from Kansas to the East Coast, serving more than 20 million customers each month. Rising demand for ALDI is fueling significant expansion. In 2008, ALDI opened 100 new stores including a new division in Haines City, FL. In 2009, ALDI opened 80 new stores. ALDI plans on opening 100 new stores in 2010 with its newest areas in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.

Westfield has over 87 grocers among the 119 shopping centers across its international portfolio (six in the United States.) Sales for grocers in a Westfield mall average higher than national averages for grocers both in the U.S. and Australia.

Today's news underscores the company's focus on introducing and integrating grocery stores and other non traditional uses into shopping centers throughout the US. In August, the company announced a multiple center agreement with Costco to open Costco stores at Westfield centers in three U.S. markets: Westfield Sarasota Square in Florida, Westfield Wheaton in Maryland and The Village at Westfield Topanga in Los Angeles, California. In July, Westfield Southcenter in Seattle, Washington, welcomed the very popular Seafood City Supermarket.

The Westfield Group (ASX Code: WDC) is an internally managed, vertically integrated, shopping center group undertaking ownership, development, design, construction, funds/asset management, property management, leasing and marketing activities and employing approximately 4,000 staff worldwide. The Group has investment interests in 119 shopping centers in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, with a total value of assets under management in excess of A$59 billion and is the largest retail property group in the world by equity market capitalization. In the U.S., the Group has a portfolio of 55 shopping centers that are home to more than 9,000 specialty stores and comprise approximately 63 million square feet of leasable space in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington.

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