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PHILADELPHIA-Like other retail REITs, the fundamentals of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust took a hit during the third quarter. The firm posted a net loss of $9.6 million over the period, and sales per square foot fell to $335 from $351 in last year’s third quarter.

But executives said the company is ready for when things change in the market. “We are expecting to capture a larger share of regional consumer spending when the economy improves,” said Ronald Rubin, PREIT’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Occupancy rates in the portfolio of 38 malls and 13 shopping centers held up well, coming in at 89.4%, slightly dipping from 89.9% during the same year-ago period. “A handful of retailers are moving forward with expansion plans,” said Joseph Coradino, president of PREIT Services.

The company only dealt with three tenant bankruptcies in the quarter. Among the retailers expanding in empty spaces, like vacant Circuit City stores, are rapidly growing electronics chain Hhgregg.

PREIT is also finding many non-retail tenants to fill vacancies. So far it has signed an antique mall, a youth center and is actively pursing office and medical tenants. However, same-store net operating income did fall 3.5% in the period, to $69.3 million.

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