Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc., benefiting from its open-air settings, is showing signs of recovering from the impact of COVID-19.
Citing improving shopper traffic and rent collections, Tanger on Wednesday reported net income of $300,000 or $0.00 a share, for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a $12.1 million loss, or $0.13 a share, in the year-ago period. The fourth quarter was heavily impacted by the pandemic and includes noncash impairment charges totaling $21.6 million, or $0.22 a share, related to two assets, in Mashantucket, Conn., and in Jeffersonville, Ohio, which was sold last January.
The prior-year period was impacted by a noncash impairment charge totaling $37.6 million related to the Jeffersonville asset.
“Our business continues to improve, with the consumer embracing open-air outlet centers as a preferred venue for shopping and entertainment,” said Stephen Yalof, chief executive officer of the real estate investment trust. “Traffic was approximately 90 percent of prior-year levels during the fourth quarter and in January, improved to more than 99 percent for domestic centers. Outlets are an important component of the omnichannel retail strategy, given the low cost structure and access to an incremental consumer that is both value-oriented and aspirational.
“Rent collections for the quarter improved to 95 percent of billed rents as of the end of January,” Yalof added. “As of that date, we had already collected 57 percent of 2020 rents that we allowed our tenants to defer until this year, nearly half of which represented prepayments. We collected 90 percent of deferred rents due in January. Our liquidity position is strong, with $84 million of cash and $600 million in unsecured lines of credit that were undrawn at the end of January,” he added.
In the fourth quarter, funds from operations were $0.54 a share, or $52.7 million, compared to $0.59 a share, or $57.5 million, for the prior-year period.
Core funds from operations was $0.54 a share, or $52.3 million, compared to $0.59 a share, or $57.5 million, for the prior-year period. Core funds exclude certain items the company does not consider indicative of ongoing operating performance, such as voluntary retirement costs, and the sale of an outparcel at an asset in a Canadian joint venture.
For all of 2020, Tanger reported a net loss of $0.40 a share, or $37 million, compared to net income of $0.93 a share, or $86.5 million, for the prior-year period. Funds from operations last year came to $1.58 a share, or $154.1 million, compared to $2.27 a share, or $221.7 million, for the prior-year period. Core funds from operations came to $1.57 a share, or $153.7 million, compared to $2.31 a share, or $226.1 million, for the prior-year period.
Tanger’s portfolio occupancy rate was 91.9 percent as of Dec. 31, compared to 92.9 percent on Sept. 30, and 97 percent on Dec. 31, 2019.
Tanger recaptured about 903,000 square feet during 2020 due to retail bankruptcies and restructurings by retailers. During 2019, about 198,000 square feet were recaptured.
As of Jan. 31, 2021, more than 99 percent of the stores in the portfolio were open, representing about 99 percent of leased square footage and annualized base rent. Before the pandemic, Tanger’s centers operated an average of 12 hours a day. Currently, they are open an average of 10 hours a day, compared to eight hours daily in early November.
Traffic in Q4 represented about 90 percent of prior-year levels and increased to about 96 percent in January. Government mandates between late December and mid-February impacted traffic at the Tanger Outlets in Canada. Excluding those centers, domestic traffic was over 99 percent in January.
Collections of Q4 rents improved to 95 percent of the amount billed. The company has deferred 1 percent of the rents and continues to negotiate another 1 percent billed for Q4.
Tanger wrote off $3.1 million, or 3 percent, of fourth-quarter rents, including 1 percent related to tenant bankruptcies, 1 percent related to other uncollectible accounts due to financial weakness and 1 percent related to one-time concessions in exchange for landlord-favorable lease amendments.
The company owns or has an ownership interest in 37 centers totaling 13.7 million square feet. Most are near vacation destinations and in areas where families have second homes, including Riverhead, N.Y., near the Hamptons, and Daytona Beach in Florida.