LONDON: Australian shopping center giant Westfield has hired its first retained corporate PR agency to highlight its role in battling the UK retail slump.
The company, which owns Europe's largest shopping center next to the Olympic Park in Stratford, UK, has brought in Weber Shandwick on a corporate and b-to-b contract following a four-way competitive pitch.
Weber's brief includes strategic planning, press office support, corporate communications, and support for Westfield's London shopping centers, as well as those in Derby and Merry Hill in the West Midlands.
A central focus of the account is helping to articulate Westfield's growth story, particularly combating suggestions that the company has damaged the UK high street by highlighting the role it plays in supporting the retail sector and the wider economy.
Westfield's London shopping centers accounted for almost £2 billion (about $3 billion) in sales last year and drew close to 70 million visitors, despite tough economic times for retailers.
The b-to-b aspect of the contract will require the agency to help ensure the UK's top retail brands want outlets in Westfield's centers.
Jon McLeod, chairman of corporate financial and public affairs, will lead the Weber team, supported by director and property sector specialist Bronwyn Daly.
“Westfield's commitment to the UK is exemplary, and is only matched by its ability to bring real added value to the retail sector,” said McLeod. “Its centers have shown retail can have a strong future, while making a real contribution to communities and the wider economy.”
The agency will also help communicate Westfield's growth plans in the UK, including the planned expansion of Westfield London and general corporate messaging for the proposed Croydon shopping center joint venture with Hammerson.
This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister publication of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.