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Westfield Cuts Hours

As part of a story about broad retail trends, this St. Petersburg Times story mentions that Westfield is scaling back the hours of operation at its U.S. properties.

This story calls the decision an "unprecedented move." That's not exactly true. Simon announced about a month ago plans to cut hours at some of its malls. In this climate, cutting back hours seems like a responsible decision by mall management. With Simon and Westfield on board, many other companies could follow.

In an unprecedented move, Westfield Group will cut hours of operation by five hours a week in 48 of its 55 malls starting March 1. Locally that means Westfield Brandon, Citrus Park and Countryside will open a half hour later, at 10:30 a.m. weekdays, and close a half hour earlier, at 8:30 p.m. weeknights. Weekend hours are unchanged.

"We're trying to help our tenants find ways to conserve and respond to changed traffic patterns," said Catherine Dickey, Westfield spokeswoman.

It was Westfield's answer to growing pressure from many chains to reduce costs. So far the cutback in hours has been resisted by the owners of International Plaza in Tampa and Simon Property Group, which owns Gulfview Square in Port Richey and Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg.

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