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In order to enrich the shopping experience of their customers, Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG - Analyst Report) collaborated with NRG eVgo – the subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG - Analyst Report) – to install Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations at its properties.

In particular, Simon Property is set to launch new EV fast-charging Freedom Station sites at 3 of its Maryland based properties – Bowie Town Center, St. Charles Towne Center and Queenstown Premium Outlets. This retail real estate investment trust (REIT) will host a ceremony on Apr 22, Earth Day, for unveiling of the same.

The abovementioned Freedom Station sites have a 480-volt direct current (DC) fast charger which will facilitate the shoppers or visitors to recharge their EVs in 30 minutes or less. Moreover, the sites have a traditional 240-volt alternating current (AC) charger, which can charge all EVs.

With the rising usage of EVs in the U.S., we view this transaction as a strategic fit for Simon Property. Particularly, the installation of Freedom Station sites by Simon Property is aimed at catering to the increasing network of these in the greater Washington D.C., metropolitan area.

Consequently, the company is opening 10 more units going forward. We expect this initiative to escalate footfall at the company’s properties.

Simon Property is slated to report its first-quarter 2014 results on Apr 22, before the market opens. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for FFO per share for the quarter is pegged at $2.24, representing year-over-year growth of 9.31%.

This retail real estate investment trust (REIT) has an Earnings ESP of +0.45% for first-quarter 2014. This, along with its Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), makes us confident about a positive earnings surprise.

Other better-ranked retail REITs include General Growth Properties, Inc (GGP - Snapshot Report) and Acadia Realty Trust (AKR - Snapshot Report). Both stocks carry the same rank as Simon Property.

Note: FFO, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, is obtained after adding depreciation and amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

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Read the Full Research Report on NRG
Read the Full Research Report on GGP
Read the Full Research Report on AKR


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