Westfield Group, delivered a 6.2% boost to full-year operating earnings that was driven by the recovery in Australian retail spending.

Westfield managing director Peter Lowy said the group’s Australian business had delivered “strong performance” in 2009, while conditions had 'stabilised' in the second half of the year in its US, UK and New Zealand markets. (Peter and Steven Lowy are joint managing directors of Westfield.)

Lowy told The Australian that Westfield would start developing shopping centres again in Australia this year, after halting its development pipeline globally in late 2008 amid the financial crisis.

The Australian