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CLEVELAND-Developers Diversified Realty recorded a net loss of $237.2 million, $1.64 per share, during the second quarter. For the prior six months, shareholders lost a total of $1.18 per share.

This financial decline is in stark contrast to the $26.1 million net income from the second quarter in 2008, and $55.7 million for the first half of 2008. Still company executives remain optimistic.

“Our second quarter 2009 operating results came in as expected despite the continued challenging environment,” Scott Wolstein, DDR chairman and CEO, told investors Friday during the company’s earnings call. “Our portfolio’s leased rate remained stable, and leasing activity remained robust with deals for over 3 million square feet of space being executed.”

DDR’s core portfolio is 90.7% leased; a decline from last year’s Q2 occupancy rate of 95.5% but completely even with the first quarter’s number. During Q2, DDR completed 147 new leases and 259 renewals. The new contracts account for 0.9 million square feet, while the returning retailers continue to occupy 2.2 million square feet. While new leases are being signed and companies are recommitting to their space, rental rates did decline by 4.7%.

During Q2, DDR disposed of nine properties for a total of $82.4 million in gross proceeds. The total sale amount led to a $36.3 million loss related to the assets. Thus far in the third quarter, DDR has sold four assets for $48.2 million.

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