Apr 26, 2018 • 10:00 am ET

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Operator
operator

Good day and welcome to the Kimco's First Quarter 2018 Conference Call and Webcast. All participants will be in a listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) Please note this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to David Bujnicki. Please go ahead.

Executive
David Bujnicki

Good morning and thank you for joining Kimco's first quarter 2018 earnings call. Joining me on the call are Conor Flynn, our CEO; Ross Cooper, President and CIO; Glenn Cohen, Kimco's CFO; David Jamieson, our COO, as well as other members of our executive team that are present and available to answer questions during the course of this call.

(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)

And with that, I'll turn the call over to Conor.

Executive
Conor Flynn

Thanks, Dave, and good morning everyone. Today I'll provide a high level overview of our first quarter 2018 performance. Ross will then report on our transaction activity for the quarter and share his views on market trends and conditions. Finally, Glenn will provide details and color on key metrics and our 2018 outlook. 2018 is the year of execution for our team here at Kimco. More specifically, we are focused on four major initiatives to help position the Company for 2019 and beyond. First, execute on our disposition plan. Our disposition plan is designed to improve the quality of our portfolio, fund our developments and redevelopments, and reduce debt.

Despite concerns that continues to surround retail real estate, we are enthused about the volume, pace and pricing of our sales. And while the equity markets continue to wrestle with valuations for retail real estate, the debt markets remain wide open to finance open air shopping centers due to the strong credit tenants that are performing well in the changing environment. While Ross will go into more detail on the dispositions and market conditions generally, I think it is worth noting here that even while we are funding projects that provide no current yields and reducing debt at rates lower than the average disposition cap rates, despite this dilutive activity, we are still producing solid results in leasing, earnings growth and balance sheet strength.

Second, notwithstanding our record-setting leasing year in 2017, we expect to further improve upon our leasing volume this year and are off to a strong start. Our leasing volume is almost exactly where we were at this point last year, and for the first time in over ten years, our sequential occupancy in the first quarter improved and now sits at 96.1%.

Occupancy for our anchor boxes increased slightly to 98.3%, and we maintain small shops at 89.6%. This is quite a feat for the first quarter, which historically experiences elevated seasonal store closures and bankruptcies and is another indication of the healthy demand for our core markets for high-quality open-air shopping centers.

In terms of our leasing spreads for the quarter, new leasing spreads came in at 15.6% and renewals and options at 7.3% for a combined 8.1%. Our leasing efforts resulted in same-site NOI of 2.6%, which is