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11/30/2023 | by Nareit Staff

Conor Flynn, CEO of Kimco Realty (NYSE: KIM), participated in a video interview during Nareit’s REITworld: 2023 Annual Conference held Nov. 14-16 in Los Angeles.

Flynn noted that the overall vacancy rate in shopping centers today overall is the lowest ever on record. “This is an interesting time where there’s virtually no new supply,” while net new store openings are outpacing closures by two to one, he said. That has resulted in the strongest leasing spreads at Kimco in over six years, in addition to all-time high occupancy levels at small shops.

As to how Kimco is positioned to deal with ongoing market financing challenges, Flynn pointed to the benefits of the company being large, well-laddered, and with low leverage. “When you look at the overall strength of the cash flow growth of the organization, that’s outweighing the interest expense increase, and that’s what’s leading to a growth profile that we think will be well received by the market going forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, the consumer is resilient, with foot traffic up year over year, Flynn said. A stabilization of interest rates would be welcomed by the shopping center space and Kimco, as well as the commercial real estate industry and REITs as a whole, he added.

Looking to 2024, Flynn said it will be an important year in terms of the integration with RPT Realty (NYSE: RPT). Kimco will also be focused on FFO growth next year, he added.

Kimco was the recipient of Nareit’s 2023 Leader in the Light Award for the retail sector. Flynn said sustainability is “core to our DNA,” and added that proptech and climate tech offer “myriad opportunities to continue to evolve.”