What's Up With Westfield?

Lindsey
By Lindsey Last edited 106 months ago
What's Up With Westfield?

There were teething problems with Europe's biggest urban mall, of course, but they were largely of the overcrowding nature - a welcome headline maker for the spangly shopping behemoth arriving in time for Christmas shopping to defy encroaching gloom of dire recession. Now, though, what's up with Westfield?

The plight of the Aussie owned centre was picked up by the Austrialian Herald Sun, reporting that it's a ghost town. Where did they get this view from? Our own Evening Standard fuelling recession fear by gaily reporting that bored shop assistants outnumber punters by 8 to 1. That and Guardian columnist Alexander Chancellor's personal view that it's a good place to go for some "peace and quiet". And yet, surveying some facts, luxury brands continue to sign up to be part of the Village, the special huddle of upmarket and designer stores that is meant to be deserted, and the complex has recorded its 10 millionth visitor since opening just over 5 months ago.

Over the next couple of weeks, seasonal chocolate based activities, two hours free parking and Grazia inspired lady events spring into effect to lure the bank holiday shoppers in.

But what's your verdict on Westfield? What is it good for? Have you eaten out there, paraded in Prada or bagged some bargains? What's really happening in the westerly clean sweeped halls of consumerism? We want to know.

Last Updated 06 April 2009

nuttyxander

As a local I feel rather underwhelmed by the place. It's nice to have a Waitrose but none of the technology shops are particularly useful and the choice of menswear is less than that on Kensington High Street.
But then, I'm a bloke and when I've gone round I've always got the feeling that the centre simply isn't for me. The only plus side is that it's a nice place to take photographs, though the overzealous security deny that pleasure sometimes as well.
It does also have some of the most laughably scant and insecure bike parking considering the cost of the place. I'd have thought they could have found the money for a secure covered bike rack area. Seemingly not.

halcyonday

Mm, the last time I set foot there, it was pretty early in the morning (I dislike shopping. And crowds.) but still pretty busy and when I escaped, it was well on the way to heaving, so I think the doom and gloom from the media is a little overboard.

Lindsey

I went last on a Monday afternoon in late Feb. It was pretty dead in the Village and quiet elsewhere but Waitrose was bustling. Still growling that House of Fraser saw fit to have big Botox ads outside their door that day. Targeting those who're coming down from the Village. Not good.

It was all very clean.

islaure

Nearly every new shopping centre will take around 1.5 to 2 years to 'grow' into its potential, this is true anywhere in the world. That's why it might seem empty now but probably why big brands are happy to keep nabbing spare leasing space there.

Agreed on the overzealous security guards about taking photos though... can't even take a photo of your own shop from the mall!!

DeanN

Westfield's doing just fine. I think, given a couple years, it could be as successful as Tobacco Dock.

kathycas

I have been to Westfied three times since it opened, and it's been beyond deserted each time (never on a weekend). On my last trip I noticed several shuttered shops already. Now notice they are offering two hours free parking, which they should have done from the start. Main problem is they offer absolutely nothing that is unique, so there's no motivation to visit.

It's also not true that new malls take time to bed in -- when Westfield opened a new city centre mall in San Francisco, it was heaving from day one (and continues to be packed at all hours of the day now, two years later).

Alex Sheppard

I can't understand why anyone would want to go to Westfield on a regular basis - it's completely devoid of character.

Though it's useful for last-minute Christmas shopping, there are so many more interesting places to shop in London.

squirrellypoo

Myself and a few friends did some window shopping around there a couple Saturdays ago, and we were pleasantly surprised at how empty it was. I mean, it's fun to smoosh your nose up against the luxury shop windows, and the food court is FANTASTIC, but otherwise it's the same old high street crap you'd see anywhere else.

solange

I think it's a fair comment that the San Francisco Westfield has apparently been heaving... however I'm sure you'll find that the shopping culture in the USA is completely different than in the UK. Most cities don't have the same "High Street" option as it's gone the way of the superstore. Even in the cities you have to travel to specific areas to do your shopping; 90% of the time to the local mall, likely because that mall has put local retailers out of business. So if the malls in some US cities are heaving, it's due to there being nowhere else to get those specific goods.

As everyone's already said, not so with London. Why spend the extra money on travel for the same stuff that is on your doorstep?