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BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI-Taubman Centers says it is enjoying strong rental rates and an increase in occupancy at its 22 shopping centers in 10 states around the nation.

The Bloomfield Hills-based REIT said Friday that second quarter FFO increased to 49 cents per share from 46 cents in the same quarter last year. Still though, Taubman said it reported a net loss in the quarter of $4.5 million, compared to a loss of $3.9 million in the same period a year earlier.

In announcing the results, company chairman and CEO Robert S. Taubman said both increasing rent rates and an improving retail situation is aiding Taubman.

Mall tenant sales per sf increased 6.3% for the quarter and 7% for the six-month period ended June 30. “Our growth continues to be driven by strong sales at our Florida properties and at Willow Bend (in Plano, TX),” Taubman says. “Our strongest categories of merchandising have been women’s accessories, electronics, food and unisex apparel.”

Leased space as of at June 30 was 90.9%, up 1.5% from June 30, 2004. Total occupancy for the portfolio was 88.7% on June 30, up 2.2% from June 30, 2004. Including temporary tenants, occupancy was 91.1% on June 30, up 2.6% from 88.5% on June 30, 2004.

Average rent per sf was $41.72 for the quarter in the consolidated portfolio, up 3% from the second quarter of 2004. Average rent for the quarter in the unconsolidated joint ventures was $42.52, similar to the second quarter of 2004.

Also on Friday, the REIT adjusted its previous FFO per share guidance to $2.06 to $2.11 to account for an anticipated third quarter financing-related accounting charge.

Taubman also said it expects net income for the full year to range from a 15 cents per-share loss to a 5 cents per-share profit.

On the development end, Simon still has a 2007 opening slated for Oyster Bay, a 860,000-sf mall planned for years on Long Island, NY. Taubman has spent $87 million so far on that development, which executives say is fighting the last of a series of lawsuits. Additionally, Taubman has a preliminary agreement to develop the retail portion of New Songdon City, a 1,500-acre site that is planned to include 10 million sf of retail, 50 million sf of offices and 30 million sf of residential space. The firm is also looking to China for growth.

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