Drew Alexander, president and CEO of Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI), says fundamentals have begun to improve in the shopping center industry. Weingarten's occupancy now stands above 92 percent.
"Retailers in the value-added space, where Weingarten operates, are looking to expand," Alexander says.
Alexander, who has been in the business since 1978, says there have been many innovations in the business over the years, but certain things remain constant.
"The power of the grocery stores and the discount stores (for example)," Alexander says. "Value is very important. Increasingly the discount concepts are working."
Weingarten has never been an aggressive user of debt on the balance sheet, Alexander says, but having gone through the credit crisis makes reiterated the importance of that strategy and monitoring maturity schedules.