Scentre Group (ASX: SCG) released its first quarter operating update yesterday.

Scentre Group owns and operates 41 Westfield shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand, with Scentre’s interest valued at $39.1 billion, many of the shopping centres are owned in partnership with property investment institutions. According to Scentre Group, more than 535 million visits were made to its centres in 2018.

Scentre’s First Quarter Trading Performance

Scentre’s ‘living centres’, which it now views as more than a shopping centre, generate $24.1 billion of annual retail in-store sales across Australia and New Zealand.

At the end of March 2019, 99.3% of its portfolio was leased and the number of customers visiting the centres per year grew to more than 535 million people.

Total specialty in-store sales were up 1.5% for the quarter. On a per square metre basis the total stable portfolio in-store sales were up 1.1% for the quarter.

Scentre Group CEO Peter Allen said: “Customer visitation continued to grow during this quarter underpinned by our strong focus on the customer experience.”

Whilst this update was satisfactory, over the longer term I worry that more online shopping will lead to lower returns for Scentre Group. Even so, management have forecast net rental growth for FY19 of around 3% and distribution growth of 2% to 22.6 cents per security.

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Disclaimer: Any information contained in this article is limited to general financial/investment advice only. The information has not taken into account your specific needs, goals or objectives, so please consider consulting a licenced and trusted adviser before acting on the information. Please read The Rask Group’s Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information. This article is authorised by Owen Raszkiewicz of The Rask Group, which is a corporate authorised representative No. 1264179 of Strawman Pty Ltd (ACN: 610 908 211) (AFSL: 501 223).

At the time of publishing, Jaz does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned.