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PHILADELPHIA-Like nearly every other retail landlord in the country, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is feeling a pinch as retailers close stores and consumers spend less time shopping. In this environment over the last year, the company’s fundamentals held up, but there were dips in occupancy and sales per square foot.

Sales per square foot at PREIT’s 53 malls and strip centers fell from $358 to $342 in fiscal 2008 compared to the prior year, while total occupancy dipped slightly, from 91.2%, to 90.9%. “Many retailers in our portfolio experienced a difficult 2008, and have taken a step back to asses market conditions,” said Ronald Rubin, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, during its fourth-quarter conference call.

In light of that, management predicts a net loss of between $1.15 and $1.35 per share for fiscal 2009, compared to a net loss of 30 cents during 2008. FFO is projected to come in at between $2.75 and $2.95 per share, down from last year’s $3.57. No acquisitions or dispositions are planned for the year.

Some redevelopments PREIT has undertaken will see completion in 2009, including Cherry Hill [NJ] Mall; Plymouth Meeting [PA] Mall; and Voorhees [NJ] Town Center. Anchor tenants going into those projects include, respectively, Nordstrom, Whole Foods and Rizzieri salon and spa.

PREIT is also having some luck filling in spaces being vacated by bankrupt tenants, management said. “We are continuing to work through these bankruptcies and are in meaningful discussions with retailers to backfill approximately a third of the square footage being vacated by retailers who filed in the fourth quarter,” said Joseph Cardino, president and PREIT services.

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