By  on February 28, 2008

The weakening real estate market took a toll on Westfield Group, which saw revenues and profits fall last year, though the developer said it was planning a number of new projects across the U.S.Net profits plummeted 38.4 percent to 3.44 billion Australian dollars, or $2.88 billion, as revenues dropped 27.6 percent to 6.66 billion Australian dollars, or $5.59 billion. Dollar figures are at the average exchange rate.Meanwhile, a 62 percent decline in revenues from "property revaluations" to 1.74 billion Australian dollars, or $1.46 billion, took a big bite out of the top line. Still, the firm is bullish on its market position."The fundamental drivers of the business are a well-positioned, high-quality, globally diversified shopping center portfolio combined with a strong financial position and an experienced management team," stated managing directors Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy, adding that Westfield's operating and development earnings showed consistent growth."Whilst it is apparent that retail sales growth in Australia is stronger than our other markets, a trend that has been consistent across the portfolio during the year is the strong sales results from those centers that have recently benefited from expansion and redevelopment," Steven Lowy said.In the U.S., the Australian firm has 55 shopping centers and 8,735 retail outlets. Westfield anticipates kicking off new projects in Florida, California, Maryland and New York over the next few years.With operations in Australia and the United Kingdom as well as the U.S., Westfield manages assets valued at 63.17 billion Australian dollars, or $52.99 billion.

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