CEO Spotlight: Glimcher Sees Scope for Rent Increases
11/25/2013 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto

Michael Glimcher, chairman and CEO of Glimcher Realty Trust, joined for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2013: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

With 2013 shaping up to be a strong year for the company, Glimcher said he’s feeling “really good” about how things currently stand. He pointed out that sales have grown “substantially” within the portfolio, while occupancy rates are sitting at 95 percent.  Most importantly, however, “our occupancy costs at 10.3 percent gives us a lot of runway, and we believe we can push rents up substantially,” he said. Glimcher explained that the company turns over about 10 percent of its leases every year, although that will rise to about 12 percent next year. With strong double digit re-leasing spreads, “we’re going to continue to push rents upwards,” Glimcher said.

Turning to the company’s strategy of repositioning its portfolio, including divesting some bottom-half properties, Glimcher highlighted that the company is now active in a lot of segments. One segment, outlet shopping centers, comprises about 20 percent of Glimcher’s portfolio. According to Glimcher, the redevelopments carried out have been “tremendous… we’re really happy with the upscale, fashion mall environment” that now exist at the outlet properties. With regard to open air centers, “it’s all about quality and having the best center within the market,” he said.

While Glimcher malls feature some of the nation’s best known retail names, Glimcher says there is still room to experiment with new retail concepts. As an example, he pointed to the craft store Make Meaning at his company’s Scottsdale Quarter facility in Arizona.  “They’re a really interesting tenant,” according to Glimcher.

The company also took a chance on a big Restoration Hardware store, Glimcher added. While it wasn’t a new retail concept, “it was a new version for them.”

Glimcher stresses that his company likes to “bet on great concepts.”

“Most of them work out, but some of them don’t,” he said. “But if you bet on the right people and people you believe in, they usually perform if you put them in the right place.”