With investments in six enterprises in Brazil, our shopping mall portfolio totals 2.5 million square feet of gross leasable area and represents BRL 1.6 billion in assets under management. Our portfolio comprises the following shopping malls: Pátio Paulista, Pátio Higienópolis, West Plaza and Raposo, in São Paulo; and Rio Sul and Madureira in Rio de Janeiro. Together, these ventures accounted for BRL 4.3 billion in total sales in 2017, an increase of approximately 7.5% with respect to 2016, despite the modest economic recovery. According to data from the Brazilian Shopping Mall Association (Abrasce), the market’s total sales grew approximately 6%.
In 2017, we focused on consolidating expansion areas in some of our malls and to diversifying the store mix, especially in Pátio Paulista in São Paulo, which added 118,400 sq. ft. of gross leasable area to the existing 333,700 in 2016. As a result, our revenues in the segment in 2017 reached BRL 400.6 million, a high of 7% year-over-year.
The expansion of Pátio Paulista allowed our lease revenue to grow 7%, while the “Same Stores” indicator grew 1.5%. The mall recorded an increase of almost 10% in total visitor traffic in 2017, with a growth of 26.5% in total sales. In 2017 alone, 36 new stores were opened (totaling around 70 new stores since 2016), while another 16 were remodeled.
The occupancy rate of Brookfield’s shopping mall portfolio in Brazil closed the year virtually stable at 95.6%, which was above the average market rate of 94.3%.
The market outlook for 2018 is a general improvement in the sector’s indicators, which should be reflected as lower pressure for discounts on lease prices and improvements in the delinquency rate. As previously mentioned, total sales in shopping malls grew by around 6% in 2017 and projections from the Brazilian Association of Shopping Centers (Abrasce) are that a similar increase should occur in 2018, mainly due to employment recovery and growth of the consumer credit market. Abrasce projections show a scenario that is more favorable to already consolidated projects, which tend to benefit from the improvement in consumer confidence.