Westfield Group, the world’s biggest shopping center owner by market value, reported the biggest increase in US sales in almost three years and said it will start A$1bn of developments.

US sales rose 5.3% in the three months ended March 31 from a year ago, the Sydney-based company said in a statement, the biggest increase since the June quarter of 2007.

“Westfield’s results are relatively impressive for a group which has been heavily exposed to significant slowdown in consumer spending,” said Jamie Spiteri, head dealer at Shaw Stockbroking in Sydney. “It highlights their belief in and commitment to the anticipated recovery in US spending.”

American consumers helped US gross domestic product grow at a 3.2% annual rate in the first quarter as household spending climbed at the fastest pace in three years. Sales at retailers such as Macy’s Inc. and Starbucks Corp. accelerated.