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PHILADELPHIA-Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust’s head executive was candid about a number of industry topics recently at NAREIT’s REITWeek in New York City, including the fate of two competitors, Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties. “It would be a logical conclusion that they are looking at General Growth,” Ronald Rubin, chairman and chief executive officer, said of Simon, which has raised $1.2 billion in stock offerings this year.

Rubin also weighed in on department stores at the conference, saying that Nordstrom, which has had sales problems of late, was “like Miss America,” for landlords. “Everyone wanted to date her,” he said. “All of their deals were done with certain subsidies.”

On the topic of Sears Holdings, which also has sales problems, Rubin voiced uncertainty. “We don’t know what’s going to happen with Sears,” he said. “We hope they stay in business, and we hope they’re successful.”

But the fate of department stores in general depends on their locations. “If it’s a great property, the likelihood is the department store won’t close,” Rubin said. “If it’s a problem property, and they do close, it will probably be more difficult to get a replacement tenant. That’s the business we’re in.”

PREIT, based in Philadelphia, owns 56 retail centers on the East Coast, 38 of them malls. The company recently did extensive remodels on its Cherry Hill [NJ] Mall and Plymouth Meeting [PA] Mall.

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