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PHILADELPHIA-With the bulk of its major redevelopment projects complete, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is beginning to see signs of a recovery in retail real estate, executives said at the company’s second-quarter conference call.

Requests for rent relief have slowed dramatically, some retailers are growing and comp-store-sales declines have slowed.

“Rent relief requests have slowed to a trickle,” said Joseph Coradino, president of PREIT Services, LLC and PREIT-RUBIN, Inc. “The retail environment holds a ray of light. We remain cautiously optimistic as we lead our business through the challenging economy.”

As retailer bankruptcies have slowed, so have requests for relief, he noted. The last month saw just a handful, down significantly. Mall comp sales declined just 1%, also lower than previous drops, and occupancy at 89.2% was down just 20 basis points from last year. Traffic at the newly expanded Cherry Hill Mall, Voorhees Town Center and Plymouth Meeting Mall has been strong, and four other projects remain under development. Voorhees’ residential portion and nearby retail has yet to be developed.

“We are poised to capture a greater share of consumer spending when the economy improves,” said Ronald Rubin, chairman and CEO.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust’s portfolio consists of 56 properties, including 38 shopping malls, 14 strip and power centers, and four properties under development. The operating retail properties total approximately 35 million square feet.

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