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Simon Property Group (NYSE:SPG) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that develops and leases retail real estate, specifically regional malls, shopping centers, and strip malls. It the largest public U.S. real estate company, and[1][2]its investments tend to be in large metropolitan areas with very high consumer traffic and are comprised of anchor department stores alongside smaller retailers. Since Simon Property Group's holdings are substantially retail properties, it is particularly affected by the willingness of retailers to lease space in shopping centers. Simon Property Group relies on high consumer retail demand so that retailers have high demand to lease space in its malls so that it can negotiate higher rents. This is especially true with tenants of smaller retail stores in Simon Property Group's malls, many of which are on short-term leases of several months to a year, as opposed to the tenants of anchor department stores that are under leases of 5-10 years. For the full year 2010, Simon Property Group reported a total revenue of $3.93B and a net income of $610M.[3]

Company Overview

The company's major platforms include:

U.S. Properties[4]

Regional Malls (62.7% of US Properties) - These are properties that range in size from 400,000 to 2,300,000 square feet of gross leasable area and contain one or more anchor big box retailers alongside smaller stores (710 anchors and 18,600 retailers in aggregate).[5]

Premium Outlet Centers® (15.2% of US Properties) - These properties range in size from 200,000 to 850,000 square feet of gross leasable area. These centers are generally located near metropolitan areas (e.g. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., and San Francisco) or major tourist destinations (e.g. Palm Springs, Napa Valley, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Honolulu).[5]

The Mills (16.2% of US Properties) - Properties consisting of combinations of traditional mall, outlet center, and big box retailers and entertainment uses. They generally range in size from 1 million to 2.3 million square feet of gross leasable area and are located in major metropolitan areas. The Mills Regional Malls typically range in size from 700,000 to 1,300,000 square feet of gross leasable area and contain a wide variety of national retailers.

Community/lifestyle (5.1% of US Properties) - These range in size from 100,000 to 900,000 square feet. These are designed to serve a larger trade area, typically containing anchor stores and other tenants that are usually national retailers. Simon Property Group also includes within this division traditional community shopping centers that are anchored by a supermarket, discount retailer, or drugstore and are designed to service a neighborhood area; and open-air centers adjacent to regional malls designed to take advantage of the drawing power of its malls.

International Properties[6]

European investments - International operations in Europe are conducted through two European joint venture investment entities; Simon Ivanhoe, and Gallerie Commerciali Italia, or GCI.[7] Nearly all of Simon Property Group's European properties are anchored by a hypermart, such as Auchan in Italy and Carrefour in France and Poland.

Asian Investments - include eight Premium Outlet Center joint ventures in Japan with Mitsuibishi Estate Co., Ltd. [8]

Overall, Simon Property Group currently owns or has an interest in 382 properties comprising 261 million square feet of gross leasable area in North America, Europe, and Asia.[9]

Revenue Breakdown

Simon Property Group Generates the majority of its revenues from leases with retail tenants, which are broken down into base minimum rents, overage and percentage rents based on tenants' sales volume and recoveries of expenditures including property operating costs, real estate tax, repairs and maintenance, and advertising and promotional expenditures. The management company also generates revenues through management fees of properties. [10]

Trends and Forces

Rising interest rates make SPG's debt more expensive

A significant increase in interest rates could lead holders of our Simon Property Group's securities to seek higher yields through other investments, which could adversely affect its stock price. Rising interest rates could also adversely affect the amount of interest Simon has to pay on loans it uses for real estate development.

Retail climate affects demand for leased space

Since Simon Property Group's holdings are substantially retail properties, Simon Property Group is particularly affected by the cycles and risks inherent to the retail environment, such as levels of consumer spending, seasonality, the willingness of retailers to lease space in shopping centers, tenant bankruptcies, changes in economic conditions, and consumer confidence. These factors affect occupancy rates and ultimately rents collected for the properties Simon Property Group owns. Although the company is somewhat shielded from cyclical effects by its larger tenants which have long-term contracts of 5 to 10+ years, many of its smaller clients have leases for a year or less.

International expansion leads to new opportunities

Simon Property Group has increasingly been making investments outside the U.S. to take advantage of booming real estate markets abroad. It owns an interest in approximately 50 European shopping centers in France, Italy, and Poland; six Premium Outlet Centers in Japan; and one Premium Outlet Center in both South Korea and Mexico. The Company also has seven international development projects under construction: three in Italy and four in China.[11] International expansion helps Simon Property Group hedge its risk against downturns in U.S. real estate markets.

Simon Property Group finds new methods to bring business to its commercial properties

Due to the nature of Simon Property Group's business as a real estate investment trust that develops and leases regional malls and commercial shopping centers, the profitability of its business is dependent on the profitability of its tenants' businesses. In order to help promote its tenants' businesses, SPG launched Simon Fashion Now, a free, dynamic fashion runway campaign that promotes styles at all price points at premier shopping centers located in Houston, TX; Palo Alto, CA; Boston, MA; Garden City, NY and Charlotte, NC. Every designer and style promoted on Simon Fashion Now's runways will be available in the very stores in the shopping centers where the shows will be held.[12]


Simon Property Group's direct competition comes from other United States Retail REITs. Competing REITs with significant retail holdings in the U.S. include:

  • General Growth Properties (GGP) has ownership interests in and/or management responsibility across regional shopping malls and anchor department stores, as well as theaters, sit-down restaurants, ice skating rinks, and other forms of family entertainment.[13]
  • Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) is a diversified REIT with a portfolio, primarily located in the New York and Washington, DC metro areas, of markets with high barriers to entry due to limited buildable land and tough building regulations. Entry into these difficult markets helps give Vornado its competitive advantage. [14]
  • Macerich Company (MAC) focuses on shopping centers particularly in Arizona, California, the New York City metropolitan area, and suburban Washington, D.C.[15]
  • Taubman Centers (TCO) has a portfolio mostly consisting of super-regional malls with more than 800,000 square feet. Taubman also has a significant division in Asia, where it develops malls with local partners.[16]
  • CBL & Associates Properties (CBL) is an active developer of new regional malls, open-air centers, lifestyle and community centers. Their strategy focuses on acquisition of regional malls.[17]


  1. Simon Property Group company website - About Us
  2. SPG 2009 10-K "Business" pg. 3
  3. Fox Business "Simon Property 4Q Profit Climbs on Improved Occupancy" 2/4/11
  4. SPG 2009 10-K "United States Properties" pg. 12-33
  5. 5.0 5.1 PR Newswire "Simon Property Group Reports Second Quarter Results and Announces Quarterly Dividend" 7/30/10
  6. SPG 2009 10-K "International Properties" pg. 34-38
  7. SPG 2010 10-K, "Results Overview" pg. 68
  8. SPG 2010 10-K, Results Overview, page 68
  9. SPG 2010 10-K, Item:1, page 3
  10. SPG 2010 10-K, 1. Organization, page 95
  11. Simon Property Group company website- International Properties page
  12. Market Watch "Simon Property Group Brings Fall Trends to Life Through Simon Fashion Now(TM)" 9/8/10
  13. VNO Company Site - About Us
  14. VNO Company Site - About Us
  15. Macerich Company website - About Us
  16. Hoovers: Taubman Centers company overview
  17. CBL Properties company website - About Us
  18. Glimcher company website - Company Profile
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