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Starwood said to offer US$1.2b US shopping malls for sale

[NEW YORK] Starwood Capital Group LLC hired Eastdil Secured LLC to broker the sale of US malls valued at about US$1.2 billion, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Starwood is selling malls it had acquired from Westfield Corp including assets in Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland, the people said, asking not to be identified as the sales process is private. Starwood and Eastdil declined to comment.

Bleak earnings forecasts from department stores, Internet shopping and bankruptcy filings by firms including Sports Authority Inc and teen-clothing chain Aeropostale Inc have damped demand for malls among investors. Poorer quality malls face a "very tough environment", Blackstone Group LP's global head of real estate Jon Gray said June 6.

A Bloomberg index of regional mall landlords has gained 4.4 per cent this year.