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BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI-With tenant sales per sf up 5% from last year, REIT Taubman Centers Inc. reported strong results for the first quarter of 2006, according to Robert Taubman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the company.

“We believe our 5% increase compares very well with the rest of the industry,” Taubman said during the company’s Q1 earnings call Friday. “We’ve had an outstanding quarter, and we want tenant sales to continue to grow.”

Taubman said the success of tenant sales is particularly noteworthy given the timing of Easter, which fell mid-April instead of March. “We are especially pleased with the sales performance given the later Easter this year and the tough comparison with the first quarter of 2005 when we posted near-record tenant sales per sf,” he told investors.

The company’s shopping centers were 90.9% leased at the end of the quarter, up 0.4% from 90.5% a year earlier. Occupancy was 88.3% versus 88.4% a year earlier. The company’s FFO per diluted share was 62 cents for the quarter, an increase of 8.8% compared to the same period last year.

With the announcement last week of 16 leases at the Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township and the expected opening of the Pier at Caesars in Atlantic City, the company is focusing on future growth. “We feel very good about our leasing momentum and expect that momentum to continue into the second quarter,” Taubman said.

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