NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Dillard's ( DDS) is one of the biggest retail gainers Thursday morning, after the department store announced its plans to form a REIT unit.

The company said in a filing that it will form a real estate investment trust to enhance its ability to access debt or preferred stock. REITs were designed to give individuals a way to capitalize on profitable real estate.

Dillard's has also formed a wholly-owned unit intended to serve as a captive insurance company.

Dillard's has been outpacing its department store peers amid the economic recovery, with third-quarter earnings surging 80%.

Shares of Dillard's are spiking 14.6% to $42.90 early in the day.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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