Simon Property Group Inc. delivered first-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations.
The retail real estate company reported that its funds from operations, or FFO, were $951.8 million, or $2.63 a diluted share, which were higher than last year’s $830.7 million and beat the FactSet estimate of $2.54 a share.
Net income for the quarter ending March 31 was $481 million, or $1.55 a diluted share, a drop from last year’s $539.1 million, or $1.73 a year ago. Occupancy slipped from 95.8 percent in 2015 to 95.6 percent in 2016. Base minimum rent per square foot increased from $47.59 in 2015 to $49.70 in 2016.
Revenues rose 9.9 percent to $1.34 billion, which topped the estimate of $1.26 billion. Simon Property Group stock is up 9 percent for the past year.
“We continue to deliver strong results,” said David Simon, chief executive officer. “FFO per share increased 15.4 percent over the prior year, driven by growth in operating income from our comparable properties and the accretive impact of our new developments and expansions.”
Simon said he was very pleased with his company’s performance considering that the U.S. economy was flat lining. He said he remains cautious because of the lack of growth in the economy.
While the malls are performing well, the outlet centers have seen some weakness. Simon noted that the company did have exposure to tourism and that it was affecting the average rent. “We’ve seen the tourism sales decrease, but not necessarily the traffic,” said Simon on the company’s earnings conference call. He did suggest that the decrease was associated with the strong dollar and that when those numbers reach an anniversary, the sales should improve.
While many of the analysts seemed concerned with the spate of retail bankruptcies and troubles at department stores, Simon tried to alleviate those concerns. He pointed out that there was only one vacant department store in the entire portfolio of 441. Simon also said there were a significant number of anchors coming into the portfolio and that even though some retailers may be leaving, others were ready to replace them. He mentioned Suits Supply, White Barn Candle, Victoria’s Secret and Tesla as retailers that Simon could now accommodate with the spaces opening up.
During the quarter, Simon Property Group completed the renovations at Roosevelt Field in Garden City, which included Long Island’s first Neiman Marcus store. The company also started construction on a new outlet mall in Edmonton, Canada. It’s scheduled to open in October 2017 and the company owns 50 percent of the project.
This month Simon completed the acquisition of The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas with a purchase price of $1.1 billion. Simon will lease and manage the center.
This year, the company is estimating that the FFO will be within a range of $10.72 to $10.82 a diluted share. This is lower than the estimated $10.84. The company guided net income to be within the range of $6.01 to $6.11 a diluted share.