NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Luxury mall REIT Taubman Centers ( TCO) recently announced its third-quarter operating results with the company's 12-month trailing mall tenant sales per square foot reaching $681, another record for the company. Mall tenant sales per square foot increased 6.2% for the three months ended Sept. 30 and 9.3% for the nine months ended Sept. 30.Net operating income excluding lease cancellation income was up 7.4% for the three months ended Sept. 30, bringing 2012 year-to-date growth to 8.3%. Funds from operations, occupancy, leased space, rents -- all of our key operating statistics were up in the quarter. For the most recent quarter, FFO per share was $0.79, up more than 25% from the third quarter 2011 FFO per share of 63 cents. As Taubman's CEO, Bobby Taubman, explained during the recent earnings call:
NOI growth was a result of increased rents including percentage rent and recoveries. Rents and recoveries benefited from higher occupancy in our centers. Percentage rent increased due to our ongoing growth in tenant sales. This is all flowing from nearly three years of great sales. The metrics are clearly strong. We now expect NOI growth of about 6% for the year, that's up from our previous guidance range of 5% to 6%.Average rent per square foot of $46.85 was up a solid 3.5% from last year. Year-to-date, average rent was up 2.8%, on track with Taubman's guidance of 3% for the year. In addition, Taubman's ratio of debt to total market capitalization stood at 30.5% at the end of the quarter, an all-time low for the company.
In Asia, we now have a platform and good strategic partners. However, we believe it's important to walk before we run. We're very focused on execution. We're not the lead in these initial projects; however, we always make sure that we have control over design and leasing. This is a marathon, it is not a sprint.Taubman: A Consistent Dividend Platform Taubman Centers, founded by A. Alford Taubman in 1950 and public since 1992, is less than a month away from celebrating its 20-year anniversary as a REIT. The Bloomfield Hills-based company has maintained a consistent cash payout history during the Great Recession and Taubman was one of a handful of U.S. REITs that were not forced to sell assets of raise equity in 2009 or 2010. The company's two-decade record was recently explained by the company's CEO Bobby Taubman, during the recent earnings call:
In less than a month, on November 20th, we will have been a REIT for 20 years. As we approach this anniversary, I'm very pleased to say that as of the end of September, our company's total shareholder return for both the 10- and 15-year periods was number one among all U.S. REITs operating during those periods. We've also done very well on our one, three and five-year bases. We're proud of this consistent performance. And we'd like to thank the many employees and shareholders who have supported us over now these 20 years.