CHATTANOOGA, TN-CBL & Associates Properties Inc. ended its first quarter with increases in funds from operations, net operating income and same-store sales, but still ended up with a decrease in net income.

The regional mall REIT recorded net income of $20.6 million for the first quarter, an 18.8% decrease from $25.4 million for the same period last year, while profit available to common shareholders per diluted share was 32 cents in the first quarter compared with 39 cents for the prior-year period, a decline of 17.9%.

The decrease is attributable to increased depreciation expense and interest expense from new properties acquired, according to a company statement.Total revenues increased 14.3% in the first quarter 2006 to $245.3 million from $214.7 million for the same period last year. For the first quarter, FFO rose 9.2% to $96.6 million compared to $88.5 for the first quarter 2005, driven by the opening of several new developments and acquisitions. Same-store NOI improved by 3.6%, while same-store sales increased 2.8% in first quarter to $332 per sf for those tenants who have reported sales, compared with a 4.5% increase for the prior year period.

Portfolio occupancy was 91.3% at the end of the quarter–the same as it was for the first quarter 2005. However, mall occupancy decreased to 91.1% from 91.5%.

This year, the REIT says it will focus on renovations; it has eight malls scheduled for remodeling in 2006, the largest number in several years, according to a company statement. New development will also play a major role for CBL, and the REIT expects to open roughly two million sf of new developments, redevelopments, lifestyle element additions and department store conversions.

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