Simon Property Group is cautiously optimistic in light of positive traffic trends
Simon Property Group, the United States’ largest mall owner, announced that it has been seeing strong growth in traffic during an earnings call on Monday, but is still cautious in its outlook.
“Between being cooped up, between being locked down, between the stimulus, between celebrating that the country is still around ... there’s clearly some level of euphoria around that,” said Simon Property Group CEO David Simon in the call, cited by CNBC.
However, the executive was keen to point out that, despite week-over-week improvements, it remains difficult to know for sure whether this boost will prove to be a continued trend or only a temporary uptick.
The CEO further highlighted that there are “pockets of the country” that are yet to experience traffic improvements. In particular, he mentioned California and New York, where Covid-19-related restrictions continue to prevent shoppers from returning to malls.
In addition, David Simon said that the ongoing lack of international tourism has also continued to have a negative impact on both malls and outlets.
In its Q1 earnings release, Simon Property Group revealed that its revenues fell 0.08% year over year in the first quarter ended March 31, 2021, totaling $1.24 billion, compared to $1.35 billion in the same period in the previous year.
During the quarter, the occupancy rate across the company’s malls and outlets in the U.S. was 90.8%, compared to 94.0% in the prior-year period. Base minimum rent per square foot, however, was $56.07, up 0.6% from $55.76 a year earlier.
The group’s net income for the quarter was $445.9 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, compared to $436.6 million, or $1.43 per diluted share, in the previous year’s Q1.
“We are very pleased with our first quarter results,” said David Simon in the release. “Our business has substantially improved after addressing the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic including significantly restrictive governmental orders as evidenced by our improved profitability and cash flow growth, increasing shopper traffic, increasing retailer sales, and leasing momentum across our portfolio.”
In line with this cautiously optimistic tone, the company also increased its full-year financial guidance on Monday. Simon Property Group now expects its annual net income per diluted share to be in the range of $4.47 to $4.57.
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