INDIANAPOLIS-Despite falling retail sales and overall concernsabout the economy, Simon Property turned in strong third-quarterresults with increases in FFO, net income and occupancy ratesacross its portfolio. “We actually embrace some of these economicchanges,” said David Simon, the REIT's chief executive and newlynamed chairman. “That's when we've done some of our best work.”

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The mall giant's FFO jumped 13.3%, to $418.7 million during theperiod, which ended Sept. 30, while net income shot up 74.3%, to$164.9 million. At its regional malls occupancy rose 20 basispoints, to 92.7%, and open-air centers had a 2.1% jump, to 92.8%.Its outlet centers were up 30 basis points, to 99.6%. Meanwhile,sales per sf rose 3.6% at malls, hitting $491, and 8% at outlets,where it was $499.

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Simon calls the period “business as usual,” and says that he hasnot seen a shift in retailers' intentions for the coming year. “Thevast majority of our retailers have not changed their plans interms of store openings for 2008,” he says.

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Simon has six centers under development across the country,ranging from 396,000 sf to 950,000 sf. One, Palms Crossing inMcAllen, TX, is scheduled for completion next month and the otherfive are planned for openings next year.

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Simon is also building two centers in Naples, Italy and has fiveWal-Mart-anchored projects under construction in China. The companyowns 378 properties in North America, Europe and Asia.

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