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Statements that PREIT makes today might be accurate only as of today, April 24, 2012. And PREIT makes no undertaking to update any such statements.Also certain non-GAAP measures will be discussed. PREIT has included reconciliations of such measures to the comparable GAAP measures in its earnings release and other documents filed with the SEC. It’s now my pleasure to turn the call over to Ron Rubin, PREIT Chairman and CEO. Ronald Rubin Thank you very much, Shawn. Welcome to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust first quarter 2012 conference call. Joining me on the call today are Joe Coradino, our incoming CEO, Ed Glickman, President; Bob McCadden, CFO; also in the room today, our Vice Chairman, George Rubin; and General Counsel, Bruce Goldman. Today, we will discuss our first quarter performance, which I’m pleased to report, reflects the continued success of our efforts to improve the fundamentals of our business. For 2012, we are off to a good start including reaching an all-time high for sales of $376 per square foot. Before we discuss the details of our first quarter performance, we recently announced that Joe Coradino will become CEO of PREIT at our annual meeting on June 7. Joe knows the business, understands the challenges and opportunities facing the company, and has unique skills and relationship to leading a retail focused real estate company. This business is all about relationships, and Joe has excellent skills in that area. We’re all looking forward to working with Joe on the next chapter for PREIT. As for as I am personally concerned, I’ll be here to continue to be helpful to the company, and to Joe. And with that, I’ll turn the call over to him. Joseph F. Coradino Thank you, Ron, and good morning everyone. It’s an honor to follow on Ron’s footsteps as CEO of this company. Ron has defined real estate in this region for more than 50 years. And his career is one of the most impressive in the commercial real estate business. I look forward to ensuring that his legacy of innovation and leadership for our business continues. And I know that as our Executive Chairman, he will be available to all of us for guidance and continued leadership.
The team and I are dedicated to continuing to implement the strategy that has been serving us very well in terms of solidifying our foundation. It has four clear pillars, continuing to drive improvement in our operating metrics with a focus on our core business, reducing leverage, selling assets that do not fit into our long-term vision, and bringing new and creative uses to our properties.Our progress in achieving our objectives is evident in our first quarter performance. Most notably, sales per square foot have increased across our portfolio for nine consecutive quarters. This validates our decision both to reinvest in our properties, and entering the short-term leases with tenants. The result has been ongoing increases in comparable store sales and renewal spreads that have turned clearly positive, which is a very meaningful metric and speak to the attractiveness of our properties. With that, I’ll turn the call over to Ed Glickman to discuss the highlights of the quarter in some more detail. Edward A. Glickman Thanks, Joe. As you’ve heard we had a solid first quarter. Our portfolio performance continues to improve with comp sales now at $376 per square foot, up 5.3% year-to-year another high for our portfolio with 33 of 38 properties showing positive results. We are especially pleased to announce that the company’s Cherry Hill Mall at $623 per foot has become the company’s first property to break the $600 per foot mark with 10.9% year-to-year growth. Of note, three of our smaller market assets Crossroads, Dartmouth and Valley Mall continue to record solid comp sales, increases ranging from 9% to 12%. These centers are benefiting from increased consumer traffic driven by our recent tenant upgrades. Total occupancy at the end of the first quarter was 91.9%; an increase of 110 basis points as compared to the 90.8% reported for the first quarter of 2011. In line occupancy ended the first quarter at 87.9%, 80 basis points higher than the first quarter of 2011. This quarter we had significant progress in leasing with approximately 725,000 square feet of non-anchor transaction. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com