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Westfield London to cut service charges

West London shopping centre Westfield London has slashed its service charges by 7%, after a long-running dispute with retailers.

Westfield told retailers that it had decided to cut its service charges from £13.94 per sq ft to £12.98 per sq ft following an assessment of the centre.

Retailers have been locked in a bitter battle with Westfield London after it attempted to hike its service charges shortly after the centre opened last October. Some retailers, including Next, had refused to pay the part of the annual service charge as a result.

It is unclear whether today’s cut in charges will be enough to placate angry retailers, with one retail executive telling The Financial Times that the cut was lower than expected.

Westfield director of shopping centre management and marketing Dennis Carruthers said: “This saving should go directly to our retailer’s bottom lines and will assist them during this difficult economic period. The rate at Westfield London now compares favourably with other regional shopping centres in the south east.”

The centre said that during 2009 it planned to spend in excess of £4.5 million on marketing activity to further assist its retail tenants.

14 million people have visited Westfield London in the six months since it opened in October 2008.

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