The Simon Property Group, persevering with to remodel a number of of its malls and construct up its retail holdings, reported a wholesome first quarter, encouraging the nation’s largest procuring middle proprietor to lift its outlook for the yr.
Net revenue rose to $445.9 million, or $1.36 a typical share, within the quarter ended March 31, from $437.6 million, or $1.35 a share, within the year-ago interval.
Revenues slipped a bit to $1.24 billion from $1.35 billion a yr in the past.
“We are very pleased with our first-quarter results,” stated David Simon, chairman, chief govt officer and president. “Our business has substantially improved after addressing the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic including significantly restrictive governmental orders as evidenced by our improved profitability and cash-flow growth, increasing shopper traffic, increasing retailer sales and leasing momentum across our portfolio. We are also seeing similar results in the Taubman Realty Group portfolio and are encouraged by our collective progress in increasing its profitability. Today we are increasing our full-year 2021 guidance.”
In December, Simon accomplished its acquisition of an 80 p.c possession curiosity in Taubman.
Funds from operations, or FFO, had been $934 million, or $2.48 a diluted share for the primary quarter.
Domestic and worldwide properties web working revenue, or NOI, mixed, declined 8.4 p.c in comparison with the prior-year interval as a direct results of the pandemic. Portfolio NOI, which incorporates NOI from home properties, worldwide properties and NOI from the corporate’s funding in Taubman Realty Group, elevated 4 p.c in comparison with the prior-year interval.
Occupancy was 90.8 p.c on the finish of the primary quarter, down from 94 p.c a yr in the past. Base minimal hire per sq. foot was $56.07, a rise of 0.6 p.c from $55.76 a yr in the past.
Simon has been energetic reworking a number of of its procuring facilities with completely different companies, end-uses and experiences, equivalent to gyms, clinics, groceries and residences, to be extra related and fewer depending on conventional retailing. For instance, on the Northgate middle in Seattle, Simon is including the National Hockey League’s Seattle Kraken company places of work and apply and coaching facility. At Phipps Plaza in Atlanta, there might be a Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, Citizens meals corridor, Life Time athletic membership and Life Time Work.
In addition, development continues on redevelopments on the North Shore and Burlington malls, each within the Boston space; on the West Town Mall in Knoxville, Tenn., and the Tacoma Mall in Washington.
In the U.Ok., the West Midlands Designer Outlet opened on April 12 upon the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, which delayed the preliminary opening date. The open-air middle has 197,000 sq. ft; Simon owns a 23 p.c curiosity within the middle.
Last week, Simon and Authentic Brands Group, by way of their SPARC partnership, agreed to purchase Eddie Bauer, including the out of doors gear and attire retailer to SPARC’s portfolio of manufacturers that features Aéropostale, Lucky Brand, Nautica, Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers.
He stated the SPARC portfolio is “doing fantastic. Eddie Bauer will be really beneficial” and can “follow the same game plan with all the other brands we bought. It is essentially a no-brainer.”
Forever 21 and Aéropostale led the SPARC portfolio by way of gross sales and gross margins in March and April, Simon stated.
He cited additionally American Eagle Outfitters, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Levi’s, Rue 21, Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta, and Saint Laurent as performing nicely, although he stated the retail uptick is “across the board.”
Simon made the case for brick-and-mortar being “unquestionably better for the environment than e-commerce…People cared less because of COVID-19. Really, the focus for us in the future is to explain the merits of physical stores and what they mean to the environment versus e-commerce. Between the packaging and transportation, I could go on and on about the carbon footprint of e-commerce versus physical retail.”
Simon additionally railed towards the tax construction. “There is no reason that retail real estate should be taxed 10 times what warehouse and distribution facilities are taxed — 10 times.”
On leasing momentum, he stated, “Keeping my fingers crossed, we are actually seeing really good demand across the board…restaurant demand is at a very high level. Some strong retailers are growing,” he stated, citing American Eagle and Urban Outfitters. Crocs, he added, “was scorching a decade in the past. People thought it misplaced its mojo. Now it’s killing it.
“Suburbia is hot. Suburbia is the place to be. We just happen to have a lot of great well-located suburban real estate. I don’t think this is a short-term scenario.…The Taubman portfolio is great suburban real estate more or less.”
On “revenge shopping,” which is a response to being cooped up as a result of COVID-19, California and elements of New York haven’t seen it but, whereas Florida has, Simon stated. He additionally stated, “People traveling globally probably won’t happen much until the end of this year, certainly in 2022.”
J.C. Penney he stated is previous the stabilization and capital preservation modes. “We have accomplished those already…We are bringing new merchandise brands to it, some of the other brands are nervous.” As for shifting Penney’s to progress sooner or later, “We are not there yet. We’ve got lots of ideas, but the first goal is to rightsize the company, strengthen financial capabilities and repair any vendor relationships and stabilize the morale.…The plan is above where we thought it would be.” In 2022, or late 2021, ABG manufacturers will begin promoting at Penney’s, Simon stated.
On occupancy ranges, Simon stated, “We expect a reasonable improvement on 2020 versus 2021. We’re not going to get back to 2019 levels in 2021, more likely 2022 or ‘23.”
Simon did say there are nonetheless some “difficult relationships and negotiations that we are dealing with — I won’t name names…If they are not paying what we think is fair, we’d just rather sit on empty space. We are not always going to get it right but we’re trying to do fair deals. To the extent it’s too one-sided, we just sit on the space.”