Australian grocery retailer Woolworths has announced that it plans to place a portfolio of retail sites, worth more than AU$900m (US$824.6m), for tender as part of a sale and long-term leaseback transaction.

The portfolio consists of more than 30 neighbourhood and sub-regional shopping centres, most of which are anchored by a Woolworths supermarket.

Some of the properties include Ashgrove Marketplace in Queensland, Carnes Hill Marketplace in New South Wales and Pakington Strand in Geelong West, Victoria.

Woolworths director of property Ralph Kemmler said: “The property offers significant diversity in terms of location, excellent demographic profiles and inherent liquidity as a result of the number of centres involved.”

Woolworths increased its involvement in the development of sites using its own balance sheet to enabled the continued roll out of its store network during the economic crisis, which has resulted in the ownership of a large portfolio of completed retail centres.

The company said it is generally not a long term holder of property assets. Historical examples of this include its disposal of the portfolio of distribution centres in 2006, the Norwest office park in 2004, and various retail sites on a regular basis.