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Simon Extends Ties With UNTUCKit, Aims More Store Openings

Zacks Equity Research

Simon Property Group Inc. SPG has been making concerted efforts to drive footfall at its properties, and extending the company’s successful tie-ups with retailers. As part of these, recently, the company announced the opening of seven additional stores of UNTUCKit at Simon Malls this year. The first set of stores already debuted at Simon Property in 2018.

Notably, UNTUCKit has emerged as a fast-growing retail brand and the company plans to expand its business by opening physical stores. Therefore, expansion of ties with UNTUCKit seems a strategic fit for Simon Property. The latest UNTUCKit openings in the Simon properties comprise ABQ Uptown, Roosevelt Field, SouthPark, The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, The Westchester, Penn Square Mall, and Burlington Mall.

Further, Simon Property has also launched an online outlet shopping platform to combat the impact of declining mall traffic, and boost both Internet and retail-store business of participating retailers. The fifth platform is called Shop Premium Outlets. It will help the “highly engaged” Premium Outlets customer base shop round-the-clock for preferred fashion, luxury and lifestyle brands, and avail up to 65% off every day.

Right now, ShopPremiumOutlets.com is in the early stages of beta-testing with the company’s VIP Shopper Club. The beta-testing of the platform is being performed with just under 2,000 brands and more than 300,000 products. However, per management, there has been substantial interest from the brands and retailers currently in Premium Outlets. As such, the company will likely unveil it for the general public later this spring.

At a time when rapid shift toward e-retailing, store closures and retailer bankruptcies have emerged as pressing concerns for retail landlords, including Simon Property, Kimco Realty Corp. KIM, Macerich Company MAC and Taubman Centers, Inc. TCO, such efforts from Simon Property are commendable.

Simon Property is investing billions and actively restructuring its portfolio, aiming at premium acquisitions and transformative redevelopments. The transformational plans included addition of hotels, restaurants, residences and luxury stores. Furthermore, the company is undertaking strategic measures to help online retailers fortify their physical presence, besides taking steps to support omni-channel strategy.

Moreover, the latest deepening of relationship with existing tenant and launch of online retail platform, weaved with an omni-channel strategy, will likely be accretive to Simon Property’s long-term growth. Nonetheless, implementation of such measures requires a decent upfront cost and therefore, may limit any remarkable growth in its near-term profit margins.

In the past year, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has outperformed the industry. While the company’s shares have gained 19%, the industry has recorded growth of 15.1%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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