Westfield Group, the world's biggest shopping centre landlord, has torn up the profit downgrade it made only eight days ago to warn of deteriorating conditions across its retail properties, while also tapping the market for $2.9bn in fresh capital.

Cash registers at Westfield's centres from Strongsville, Ohio, to Castle Court, Northern Ireland, were noticeably quiet over the crucial Christmas holidays, forcing the company to forecast much lower earnings for the year ahead. Westfield draws about 60% of its earnings from the US and Britain.

It is the latest in a string of Australian corporations to contract profit guidance while also soliciting new funds, as boardrooms across the country brace for a potential recession.

The Age