The quietness, of course, is a bit of a problem for Westfield, even though it's partly why we liked it so much (seeing places like Topshop and Uniqlo calm, and orderly, with space to breath and a good staff-customer ratio is quite novel, and it completely changed the way we perceive the whole experience). Granted, it was around midday on a rainy monday when we visited, but there have been reports that Westfield hasn't been attracting as many customers as they would like, with a few of the shops struggling to stay in business, and in some ways the timing of their opening couldn't have been any worse given the current economic state. Still, there was definitely life to it when we visited - just not too much, as is the case on Oxford Street - and a £1.6 billion project has to have a fairly long term outlook.
We were also surprised by 'The Village,' the luxury shopping area. We had rather assumed it wouldn't take off, but nearly everything was open (although Louis Vuitton, Valentino, and M Missoni were still under construction) and there were people browsing who looked like potential customers. There were very glossy Prada and Miu Miu stores, and others include Versace, Dior, Mulberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, De Beers, Tiffany & Co, Jo Malone... the designer fashion stores predominately sell accessories only, with a few pieces of basic ready-to-wear (no outlandish runway pieces), but that's what seems appropriate for the location, and we thought it could definitely work (if only people still had the money to spend!) as an alternative to Bond/Sloane Street and the West End department stores for buying luxury accessories.
Westfield is never going to replace Liberty and Selfridges, and various small shops in Soho and East London, as our primary shopping destination, but when we are looking to go to chain stores (and not just for clothes) we'll probably head there first. Personally, we're not convinced about spending in the luxury area ourselves (aside from the fact that the designer brands we like best aren't featured, when we stretch the budget on designer stuff, which really isn't that often, we like to get full mileage from our purchases by going to the 'proper' central London boutique/department store), but we can imagine others will, particularly those who like branded luxury more than creative runway pieces, and who buy more frequently than we do.
Westfield website is here. Westfield did not pay us to write this. We actually visited rather hoping it would be a real stinker, enabling us to do a deliciously mean hatchet job on it, but not so.