Why is the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield share price tumbling 10% today?

What’s dragging on the shopping centre operator’s share price today?

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Key points

  • The Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield share price is down 10% today
  • A URW statement released to the ASX yesterday revealed the company will rebrand three shopping centres in Europe to Westfield 
  • The URW share price is outperforming the real estate sector's benchmark index in 2022 so far 

The Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX: URW) share price is down 10% today while the rest of the market recovers from yesterday’s trouncing.

At the time of writing, the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) is up 1.06% to 7,380 points. The URW share price is currently trading at $4.86, down 10% on yesterday’s close.

The move follows a news release from the company to the ASX shortly before the market closed yesterday.

In its release, the ASX global real estate developer said it would rebrand as Westfield three flagship shopping centres in Spain, Sweden and Poland.

The centres involved are the most important in their respective markets. They are Parquesur in Madrid, Taby Centrum in Stockholm, and Galeria Mokotow in Warsaw.

The three centres share a number of characteristics. These include excellent locations and public transport, distinctive architecture, and a best-in-class approach to the customer experience.

What did management say?

In a statement, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said it was focused on rebranding flagship centres in Europe’s wealthiest cities and catchment areas.

The company said:

The rebranding continues the expansion of the Westfield brand in Europe as the company drives new revenues through media advertising and brand experiences, turning its huge footfall of 550 million visits across its European assets into a qualified audience, while also leveraging the Westfield brand’s significant value to retailers, who see over 20% higher sales at URW’s centres even when compared to other A-category malls.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield chief customer officer Caroline Puechoultres added:

The significant opportunity afforded to both retailers and brands by this increasingly digitally linked network of destinations is unparalleled – through Westfield our partners can reach tens of millions of European consumers, driving new possibilities in advertising, brand marketing and retail.

What else is happening at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield?

The company has a global portfolio of real estate assets worth 54.5 billion euros as of 31 December. About 86% are retail assets, including 84 shopping centres of which 53 in Europe and the United States are considered flagships.

On 28 April, the company released its Q1 FY22 update. It showed a 34.2% lift in turnover compared to Q1 FY21, representing “strong post-COVID-19 recovery and asset deliveries”.

The report revealed tenant sales at 93% of 2019 levels and an improvement in rent collection to 93% for Q1. It also reported “sustained” leasing activity with 521 deals in Q1, up 4% on 2019 and 60% being long-term leases.

URW share price snapshot

The URW share price is down 3% year-to-date. This represents a significant outperformance of the real estate sector’s benchmark index. The S&P/ASX 200 A-REIT Index (ASX: XPJ) has fallen 18% in 2022 so far.

There are mixed results among other property groups with a heavy retail focus. The Scentre Group (ASX: SCG) share price is down 11% in 2022 so far. Vicinity Centres (ASX: VCX) shares are up 6%.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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