Participating in today's call will be Kenneth Bernstein, President and Chief Executive Officer; Michael Nelsen, Chief Financial Officer; and Jon Grisham, Chief Accounting Officer. Following management discussion, there will be an opportunity for all participants to ask questions.At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Bernstein. Please proceed, sir. Kenneth Bernstein Thank you. Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us. Today I’ll start with a brief overview of the progress we made in the third quarter and the trends we are seeing. Then Jon will review our earnings, operating metrics and key drivers. And then Mike, Jon and I will take any questions. As an overview, we’re pleased with our third quarter results which were consistent with our expectations in evidence with respect to operating fundamentals, a stabilizing and slowly improving leasing environment, and with respect to the real estate capital markets, a significant strengthening driven most significantly by the effects of low interest rates, declining borrowing costs, and capital returning to the real estate markets especially for high quality assets. Today, we will discuss what we are seeing in the key components of our business, most importantly our core portfolio, our external growth platform and our balance sheet metrics. In terms of portfolio performance, in the third quarter our same store performance for the quarter and year-to-date was consistent with our expectations and as we discussed on our last call. Although fundamentals continue to stabilize, significant cross currents remain in the economy. Even as the economy hopefully continues to strengthen, these cross currents are likely going to create challenges, volatility and opportunities in the shopping centre sector with certain regions, product types and retailers being disproportionately impacted both positively and negatively. As we discussed on the last call our same store NOI decline this quarter was concentrated in our two previously discussed vacancies and our 180 basis point decline in occupancy was primarily driven by our recapture of the former Bon Ton lease which we simultaneously re-leased and will result in a blended positive rent spread of more than 50%. But as a result of the Bon Ton transaction there will be a short term negative impact on both same store NOI and occupancy until the two new tenants reopen in the mid 2011. Although we generally prefer NOI inoccupancy improvements, we welcome headline volatility when it is in connection with long term value creation.
In terms of existing tenant performance into fall, in general we continue to see improvements in the performance metrics of our existing tenants. One area that has received attention lately is the financial and operational strengths of certain supermarket operators and their impact on the shopping centres that they occupy.As a general overview, approximately half of the shopping centres in our core portfolio contains supermarket tenants. Within that pool of centres, they fall into two categories: first those where the supermarket is the dominant anchor and the significant driver of traffic to the center, and the second is where the supermarket is just one of several anchor tenants. Our portfolio is about evenly split between these two categories that is about 25% of our core portfolio has supermarket as their primary anchor. A&P Supermarkets is one of the tenants being closely watched by the financial community. As they are a significant tenant of ours, we have four A&Ps in our core portfolio and one in our Cortlandt Manor acquisition. Of those five properties, A&P is the dominant anchor in two of the five. In general, all of these locations are solid performing stores for A&P and in our discussions with A&P in reviewing their sales performance it appears that these are not locations that they are likely to electively dispose of. That being said, the ultimate resolution of A&P remains to be determined and there is always a high level of uncertainty in fragile situations it seems. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com