Andrew M. Alexander, the President and CEO of Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI), Interviews with The Wall Street Transcript

Wall Street Transcript

67 WALL STREET, New York - June 23, 2014 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its REITs Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

Topics covered: Apartment, Lodging, Self-Storage and Office REITs - Consolidation Activity - REIT Access to Capital - Residential and Commercial REITs - Correlation Between Macroeconomy and Real Estate - Agency Mortgage REITs - Supply and Demand Dynamics - Favorable REIT Fundamentals

Companies include: Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI) and many more.

In the following excerpt from the REITs Report, the President and CEO of Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI) discusses company strategy and the outlook for this vital industry:

TWST: Given that the supermarket in one form or another has been a focus since the founding of the company, do you see grocery-anchored retail centers continuing to be your primary focus? And what are the key benefits to focusing on that type of property?

Mr. Alexander: We have always focused on the basic goods and services. We just think that that part of the retail space is very recession resilient, will very much stand the test of time and is very resistant to the Internet. So our focus has always been on basic goods and services, and we do a lot of business with different discount department store chains like Target and Wal-Mart, a lot of business with TJX Companies and Ross, but our principle bread and butter - pun intended - is in supermarkets.

Today, about 75% of our base rent comes from centers that have a supermarket component. We do a lot of business with the national companies like Kroger and Safeway, with the specialty grocers like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, and also with the strong regional chains like Publix, H-E-B here in Texas and Raley's in California. We are very comfortable with supermarkets; we understand the business. We focus on good locations, which is why our retailers do extremely strong sales per square foot, and it's a very good portfolio that brings a tremendous amount of customer traffic to the centers every week.

TWST: What about your geographic presence and the markets that you target? Has there been any change in that respect?

Mr. Alexander: It's for us a matter of focus. We announced a transformation several years ago where we would exit some states and attempt to increase our concentration in the markets that we felt were strategically more key. So we looked at principally 12 states from Washington state to Washington, D.C., and looked at the states that are along the borders, the major metropolitan areas in those states, plus Las Vegas and Denver, Colorado. Depending on how you count it, it's about two dozen markets: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Southern Florida, Central Florida, Atlanta, Raleigh, North Carolina, and then the Washington, D.C., area.

During the downturn, we identified Washington, D.C., as a potential area where we wanted to grow. We were hopeful that the downturn would produce some great opportunities there and sort of easy pickings, and while we are very pleased with the quality of the assets that we've gotten involved in, and some of the development and new things that we are working on in Washington, it certainly hasn't proven to be easy. It's a very competitive market. Again, we are very pleased with the quality, but keeping the high-quality standards that we have throughout our entire investment discipline, it's been hard to do a lot of quality acquisitions in that market or in any of the other strong markets that we are looking at.

TWST: Are there any recent examples of dispositions or new acquisitions that illustrate your investment strategy?

For more of this interview and many others visit the Wall Street Transcript - a unique service for investors and industry researchers - providing fresh commentary and insight through verbatim interviews with CEOs, portfolio managers and research analysts. This special issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

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