Our sales increased 5.4% and we have been very active on the financing front with the announcement of our $1 billion-plus joint venture with TIAA-CREF, and more than $1.15 billion in financing activity.
Needless to say, we have had a very productive quarter and are proud of these results and achievements. They reflect the strength of our company and our portfolio of market dominance centers and the hard work of the entire CBL team.
We have been busy this quarter meeting with many of our major retailers. Over a thousand people visited our booth at ICSC RECon, in Las Vegas this May, a double digit increase over the prior year. We followed up ICSC with our own annual leasing connection event here in Chattanooga in June, more than 120 retailers attended and we welcomed several first-time attendees such as Chile’s, Oakley, Windsor Fashion and Bare Escentuals.
We spent three very productive days together doing deals and strengthening our relationships. Leasing activity has been picking up with several new concepts and new retail names moving into CBL Malls. Recently we signed a lease with Cotnon, a very successful Australian retailer that has been expanding its footprint in the U.S. They will open at Volusia Mall in Daytona Beach and we are working to put them in several other locations. We recently opened the foundry, J.C. Penny’s new concept at Oak Park Mall in Kansas City. Other new retail names we’ll soon introduce to the CBL portfolio include LEGO, Clark’s, Armani Exchange and Von Maur’s new Junior Fashion consent, Dry Goods.
Our leasing team has been more successful in using positive sales and higher occupancy rates in our portfolio to push rental growth and improved the terms of renewals and new leases.
Our efforts to replace underperforming retailers and achieve market rates were evident in the significant improvement in our lease spreads this quarter. Overall leases for stabilized malls in the second quarter were signed at a 10% increase over the prior gross rent per square foot.