SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) ¿ Mall operator Macerich Co. on Thursday said its third quarter funds from operations slid 10 percent as revenue fell. The real estate investment trust posted FFO of $88.7 million or 97 cents per share, compared with $98.5 million, or $1.12 per share, in the same quarter of 2008. Per-share results in the latest quarter reflect 6 percent more shares outstanding than last year. FFO, a widely used gauge of real estate operating performance, adds depreciation and amortization expenses, as well as other non-operating items, back to net income. Revenue slid 11 percent to $200.7 million from $225.8 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected FFO of 92 cents per share on revenue of $200.3 million. Net income available to common stockholders was $142.8 million, or $1.75 per share, up from $2.6 million or 3 cents per share, in the 2008 quarter. The latest period was boosted by $161.6 million of gain on property sales, mainly the sale of a joint venture interest in Queens Center, a mall in New York City.
During the quarter, Macerich signed 294,000 square feet of specialty store leases with average initial rents of $40.98 per square foot. Starting base rent on new lease signings was 14.2 percent higher than the expiring base rent, the company said. Occupancy at Sept. 30, 2009, was 91 percent, compared with 92.8 percent a year ago. The company said it has focused this year on reducing debt. During the quarter $446 million in unsecured term notes were paid off. Macerich shares added 10 cents to $29.89 in morning trading.