August 15, 2012 / 10:06 AM / 5 years ago

Mall attracts 5.5 mln visitors during Olympic Games

Westfield Shopping Centre, a major gateway for visitors to the London 2012 Olympic Park, is seen in Stratford, east London July 19, 2012.Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - Stratford City, a mall sited by the main entrance to the Olympic Park in east London, attracted 5.5 million visits during the Games, Australian developer Westfield said, to be one of the biggest retail winners from the Olympics.

The performance contrasted with other shopping areas in London - including a sister centre in west London - where retailers have complained about poor sales after repeated warnings about travel deterred non-Olympic tourists from visiting during the Games.

In the first week of the Games, footfall in the capital's usually bustling West End district, full of shops, restaurants, bars and theatres, was down 4.5 percent year-on-year, according to market research firm Experian.

All visitors to the Olympic Park had to pass through the centre, Europe's biggest urban shopping mall, which opened in September 2011. The centre was the subject of criticism during the Olympics after it shut for a weekend to non-ticket holders on concerns of overcrowding.

"Approximately 5.5 million visits were made to our (Stratford City) centre in just over two weeks, giving the group an unprecedented exposure to a global audience," Westfield co-chief executive Steven Lowy said on Wednesday.

The figure will account for 9 percent of the company's expected 2012 visitor numbers to its two London malls. It expects both centres to attract a total 60 million customer visits spending 1.8 billion pounds this year.

Westfield WDC.AX, the world's second-largest listed retail trust by market value, posted an improved first-half result on Wednesday thanks to a solid performance in Australia and the United States and maintained its full-year outlook. (Editing by Dan Lalor)

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