Wet and drizzling, we decided to hop off to check out our investment in Westfield London. For those of you with Westfield shares in Australia, and concerned about this 1 billion dollar investment that Frankie made, let me tell you the place looks in very good nick. My bolt (all worth about 1 share) is there doing it’s thing, and the combination of all your bolts, I say, creates a structure well worth visiting.
For us, the big Westfield sign was a little bit of home. It felt … familiar. Who knew that branding could be so powerful. Westfield London is huge! Serviced by three train stations at each end, yes shareholders, they have looked after your investment with great town planning decisions. By the way, I also think they actually build a tube station stop. Not sure whether it’s Wood Lane on the Hammersmith & City Line (which is the one we took) or a different one. It’s really quite accessible.
Anyway, onto the shops. We saw familiar “Aussie” or more accurately “Kiwi” shops like Kathmandu, Pumpkin Patch, Boost Juices and Canterbury. Fake Ugg Australia was everywhere. Nice shoes, but not supporting them since they stole Australia’s Ugg boots and made it their own. Quite popular here, though very, very, very, very, very, very expensive. Get my drift. Ok, $299 pounds is expensive for me. I look for Ugg boots for like $60 when I’m in Aussie land.
The foot print of each shop is also huge. Much bigger than your average High Street store….. and I love it! It means that once you rock up, you don’t have to take wander much further to access shops, food, bookstores, cinema, restuarants etc. Plus it also appeals to the Singapore shopper in me – you know, the all in one place shop? It reminds me very much of US shopping centre. It certainly is more high end than the Westfield shops in Australia, though not (according to hubby) to the one in San Francisco.
They had just about every main High Street store you might like to visit: Apple, Sony store, Marks & Spencer, Tiffanys, House of Fraser, Russell & Bromley, WH Smith, Waitrose, Timberland, Kathmandu, Pumpkin Patch, Bose, De Beers, Alessi, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Top Shop, Next, Habitat, Nike, etc etc etc. Unique features were a Champagne Bar to sip champagne, coincidentally located next to the De Beers and Tiffany’s at the high end part of the centre called The Village. We thought they meant M Night Shamalan’s movie. Some shops, we went in but did not touch. It was like a exhibition gallery. But I really liked looking at the entire range of Alessi. Beautiful stuff. They also had an exhibition of Getty’s Images.
The Food Court was lovely. Mood lighting, lighting under the table, decorative features etc. High quality finishing. Yes, your shareholder investment is safe and safely invested with the Architects and Interior Designers who designed this place. Usually most food courts in a Westfield have bright flourescent light so you can see your food. This was you think you are dining out at a fancy restaurant since you are paying fancy prices. Or maybe it’s to help you avoid seeing the change (or the lack of it) on the tray. Anyway, definite tick for the food court. Yum cha, by the way, cost a whopping $3.50 pounds for a tray of 3 Har Gow – Ouch! We went to try the Vietnamese “Pho”. Ok, not bad. One of only a couple of authentic places I’ve eaten at.
It is a nice shopping centre and I would definitely come back. All the main shops are in one place. And, it feels a bit like home eg. Chatswood Chase.
Now to the $60,000 question, or more accurately the $60 billion pound question, were people shopping? There were tons of people walking around. This place is built for crowds. And lots of people looked like they were shopping, with many shopping bags in hand. Every store had some kind of a promotion program. For what it’s worth, Tiffany’s, De Beers and the Champagne Bar were busy, not to mention Louis Vuitton as well. But if majority of shoppers were like us, then I’m not so sure. “We came, we ate, we left … but we’ll be back!” might not be good enough for the retailers and statisticians.