07/17/2012 | by
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Glimcher Expanding Through Acquisitions

In an effort to "move the needle," Glimcher Realty Trust (NYSE: GRT) is looking to expand its portfolio through acquisitions, according to Michael Glimcher, the company's chairman and CEO.

In addition to refurbishing existing assets, Glimcher Realty has undertaken an aggressive acquisition program to build up its portfolio.

"We've been looking high and low to find opportunities," Glimcher said. "We've been very busy."

Among the steps that Glimcher Realty has taken in this effort, the company bought out a partnership interest held by the Blackstone Group, giving Glimcher 100 percent ownership of its Pearl Ridge property, up from 20 percent. Glimcher Realty also acquired two assets in Kansas, one of which was consummated via swap with retail REIT DDR Inc. (NYSE: DDR.com).

"What's nice about all of those opportunities is that they were all off-market," Glimcher noted.

In the wake of the upswing in acquisition deals, Glimcher said the firm may dial back its deal-making in the near future.

Glimcher also discussed the company's outlet collection. Glimcher Realty has owned outlet properties for 15 years, but it is now beginning to emphasize that aspect of some of its properties, such as its Jersey Gardens Outlet asset. The plan is to brand the properties more like high-end fashion malls, rather than standard outlet centers, according to Glimcher.

"We think creating a brand like many of the national outlet players have done and putting the word 'outlet' in the name was really important," he said. "Outlet signifies value, collection, quality and brand names. We're really excited about how the customer will receive it."

Despite some concerns in the retail community over economic sluggishness, Glimcher said his company's tenants are seeing "solid" traffic. However, that hasn't alleviated concerns, and Glicher said he expects volatility to persist between now and the national elections in November.

Glimcher said he takes comfort in the fact that the firm has room to move up occupancy cost. He also noted that the company's development pipeline is limited.

"Having a less robust economy in some ways is a positive for owners of existing assets, because you don't have a bunch of new competition coming online," Glimcher said.