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Taubman CEO Pleased by Refinancing Progress

Stocks in this article: TCO

So, if things are so good over at Taubman, do you think you may be making any acquisitions.

Well, we're looking at things as they come up, it's very hard. They're very unique assets, there aren't that many of them, we're a very concentrated industry, the mall sector that we focus on. We're also a developer and that really is where we've seen the primary focus of our growth over the years and we do expect development to pick up once again and we're looking at a number of things that could move forward in the next year or two.

Now you've mentioned that the dividend has been pretty stable, any idea if it might increase?

Obviously it's something that our board considers year to year and we're very pleased that our dividend has remained solid. Again our balance sheet is in excellent condition and I'm sure as time goes on, we'll look at our dividend again.

Looking forward, do you see recovery towards the end of this year or do you think it's going to be more towards to 2011 before we get a real substantial grip on the economy?

I think the risk of double dip is very low at this point. I do think we're in this long recovery, when you look at jobs as sort of the key fundamental of the marketplace and of how people feel about the economy, I don't think you're going to see technical unemployment really get time to sort of benchmark five and a half to six percent for many years. It could be four or five years before that happens.

But I do think the people that have jobs feel good about their prospects and they are spending money and I think that will encourage the economy as the capital markets continue to open up some more, I do think that the economy will continue to grow slowly, but very progressively forward.

You mentioned jobs. Your company had a restructuring about a year ago, so when do you think you might start hiring?

We're actually beginning to hire back some right now in very specific areas.

Do you feel that the luxury retailers maybe will lead the pack as opposed to the teen retailers? It sounded like when we did get those sales numbers that the luxuries were starting to look okay.

I do think the luxury retail in our centers has performed very, very well and part of our outperformance to our peer group. We've really been leading in the fourth quarter comparison of last year, the first quarter of this year.

Hopefully as we look forward, we're going to see that our portfolio is outperforming our peers and we think a very important reason for that is the performance of our luxury retailers that we tend to have more of in our centers than others. We do have the highest productivity of any of them - all portfolios by some distance and again we think that has to do with a lot of luxury presence.

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