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Regency to Open 2 Whole Foods in Chicago

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Regency Centers Corporation (REG - Free Report) disclosed the opening of two new grocery stores of Whole Foods Market, Inc. at two properties – Shops on Main and Hinsdale Lake Commons – in the Chicagoland area.

In particular, Regency signed a lease deal with Whole Foods Market, which replaced the previous tenant – Dominick’s – at the two community shopping centers. Shops on Main, which is presently under-construction and slated to open in spring of this year, is located in Indiana near Chicago.

The property boasts several outlets of renowned retailers including Ross Stores Inc. (ROST - Free Report) and Gordmans Stores, Inc. . Hinsdale Lake Commons situated in Willowbrook, Illinois also houses some well known retailers like Hallmark and Phillies Pizza Bar & Grill. Whole Foods Market will occupy 40,000 square foot and 69,540 square foot of space, respectively, at these two centers.

Notably, Regency boasts a cluster of industry leading grocers that are comparatively less affected in a challenging economy and drive traffic into its centers. Consequently, the company enjoys a stable source of rental revenue. Furthermore, this deal with WFM boosts its tenant roaster at these 2 centers and enhances the company's capabilities to grow its top line.

Continuing with its winning streak, Regency reported a positive earnings surprise of 3.1% in fourth-quarter 2013. The company’s fourth-quarter core funds from operations (core FFO) per share of 66 cents exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2 cents and the year-ago quarter figure by 3 cents. Higher revenue growth and improved core portfolio fundamentals aided the results. Encouraged by its performance, Regency also raised its quarterly dividend by 1.6%.

This retail real estate investment trust (REIT) currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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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