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Federal Realty Investment Trust's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

What I'd like to do is talk how the quarter starts around the productivity of our core leasing, because it provides the best window we have into the expectations for future cash flows. The first quarter was pretty extraordinary, 22 leases for 461,000 feet of comparable space completed at an average rent of $31.66, 17% higher than the $27.15 it replaces. Just to put that in perspective, we've only leased 461,000 feet of space in the 3-month period 3 times in the last 60 quarters, that's since 1997. So it'd be very helpful in 2012 and 2013 cash flows.

An important contributor to the quarterly leasing result was a very significant re-merchandising of Huntington's Shopping Center in Long Island, where we replaced Barnes & Noble and Toys R Us with new and very accretive deals with Nordstrom Rack, Alto [ph] and Chili's. While we certainly deployed capital to reconfigure, the deals make a ton of sense both financially and with the objective of improving merchandise for the benefit of the entire shopping center. Huntington is a great example of a very well-located real estate where demand does exceed supply and where we can drive economics. It sits adjacent to an assignment [ph] who's very successful, Walt Whitman Mall.

Geographically, the economy in Northern California continues to gain ground with job creation in the tech sector really benefiting our residential rents at Santana along with increasing tenant sales. Washington and Boston also continue to feel very good, while Philadelphia has flattened out in the past couple of quarters, more small-shop tenant failures relative to the other regions in Philly. You might recall from my past comments that Philly held up remarkably well during the depths of the recession, but it seems to be acting weaker now; stable, just not growing all that much. It is so important to have a diversified portfolio, not just by tenant concentration, but by regional concentration and retail property type too. The portfolio remains 93.8% leased, flat with last year but up from the fourth quarter. You should also expect physical occupancy to decline for the year as the recently executed deals begin to be delivered.

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