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Westfield is still below $11 — should you buy?

Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) is still trading below the $11.00 per share mark based on fears related to the future of the brick and mortar retail sector. However, it seems that many investors are not fully taking into account the measures being undertaken by the company to overcome such challenges.

Westfield, along with its affiliate Westfield Retail Trust (ASX: WRT), has embarked on a mission to strengthen its global property portfolios — divesting shopping centres with little development or expansion potential and instead focusing on those with more promising futures.

For instance, a portfolio comprising of seven US malls was recently sold to Starwood Capital Group, raising a total of US$1.64 billion which will be put towards further redevelopments and share buybacks. Meanwhile, the group has also announced that it will sell its 33% stake in Perth’s Karrinyup Shopping Centre, despite having been given the green light to take full control of the centre by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

At the same time, various opportunities have been recognised in London and the company is also continuing to search for an opening back into the promising Brazilian market.

Although doubt looms over the retail sector in light of poor consumer confidence as well as a rapidly increasing level of online shopping, shopping malls will always remain a place for people to socialise or go to restaurants or see movies. By cutting its non-core properties and choosing to reinvest that money in more promising shopping centres around the world, Westfield is strengthening its position as a world leader in its industry and freeing up cash in the meantime.

Foolish takeaway

Westfield is trading at just $10.87 per share, which resembles a 13.4% drop since hitting its high of $12.55 in May this year. Although it is one of Australia’s largest companies already, there is still significant growth potential ahead as it seeks to expand into new markets, making it an attractive prospect.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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