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COLUMBUS, OHIO-Glimcher Realty Trust told investors today during its year-end and Q4 earnings call that it posted negative numbers for the year, but a profit in the final quarter. The locally-based company posted a $668,000 loss in 2008, a $0.02 decline per share. These numbers are in stark contrast to 2007′s numbers, in which the company saw nearly $21 million in profits, amounting to $0.56 per share.

Q4 earnings totaled $1.72 million, a $0.04 increase per share, compared to 2007 Q4 results which saw a loss of $21.3 million, or $0.56 per share. The lower Q4 2007 numbers were due in large part to the liquidation of Steve & Barry stores throughout the company’s portfolio.

“We are pleased with the relative strength of our mall portfolio heading into fiscal year 2009 as evidenced by the solid operating fundamentals we reported for the fourth quarter of 2008,” says CEO Michael Glimcher. “While we would rather forecast growth for this year, we believe our 2009 guidance is reflective of the challenging economic environment we are currently experiencing.”

Rental rates in Glimcher’s properties averaged at $31.77 at year-end; a 1.1% increase compared to the final numbers in 2007. Occupancy in the core assets increased by 0.2% to 94.4% at the end of December. Even with these slight increases, the retail sales in the core assets decreased by 3.3% from the end of 2007.

Glimcher executives are predicting a weak 2009. “The Company expects diluted net (loss) income per share to be in the range of $0.05 for the year ending December 31, 2009 and expects diluted FFO per share to be in the range of $1.85 to $1.95 for the year ending December 31, 2009,” say executives in the report issued to investors. The loss is due to a number of factors, including a decrease in the core asset’s operating income, an expected decrease in occupancy, recurring capital expenditures and bad debt expense.

Glimcher is looking for joint venture opportunities or possible sale transactions to positively impact its bottom line. At the beginning of January, it sold the Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe, KS for $20.5 million.

Although what other opportunities like this might become available is uncertain due to the current economic situation, executives say. “With the uncertainty created by the current capital markets, it is difficult to forecast the timing, pricing, and size of any opportunity or whether such transaction will be consummated.”

At the conclusion of 2008, Glimcher owned 23 mall properties in 14 states. The total leasable space is estimated at 21 million square feet.

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