Back to top

Image: Shutterstock

Here's Why You Should Hold Regency Centers (REG) Stock Now

Read MoreHide Full Article

Regency Centers Corp. (REG - Free Report) primarily focuses on building a premium portfolio of grocery-anchored shopping centers that are usually necessity-driven and drive dependable traffic.

Regency’s premium shopping centers are situated in the affluent suburban and near urban trade areas, where consumers have high spending power, enabling these to attract top grocers and retailers. As more people are moving to the suburbs, Regency is likely to offer a long-term benefit to its suburban shopping center portfolio.

In these uncertain times, the grocery component has been the saving grace of the retail REITs and Regency has numerous industry-leading grocers as tenants. It has a high-quality open-air shopping center portfolio with 80% grocery-anchored neighborhood and community centers. With its focus on necessity, service, convenience and value retailers, Regency’s portfolio comprised 45% of pro-rate annual base rent from the essential retail and services tenancy as of Sep 30, 2021. The significant essential retail businesses at Regency’s centers have enabled its properties to remain open during the pandemic.

Regency is focused on strengthening its balance sheet. As of Sep 30, 2021, Regency had full capacity under its $1.2-billion revolving credit facility. Also, the company had no unsecured debt maturities until 2024. This low leverage with limited near-term maturities offers flexibility to REG.

Regency also enjoys a large pool of unencumbered assets and good relationships with the lenders. As of Sep 30, 2021, 88.7% of its wholly-owned real estate assets were unencumbered. With a high percentage of such assets, the company can access the secured and unsecured debt markets.

Shares of Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) REG have gained 15.8% in the past six months compared with the industry's rally of 5%. Also, the estimate revision trend for the 2021 funds from operations (FFO) per share indicates a favorable outlook for the company as the estimates have been revised 2.4% upward over the past month. Due to the progress on fundamentals and the upward estimate revisions, the REG stock has decent upside potential in the upcoming period.

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

However, move-outs, store closures and retailer bankruptcies are likely to affect the performance of the retail real estate market in the near term. The efforts of online retailers to go deeper into the grocery business have also emerged as a concern for Regency, which focuses on building a premium portfolio of grocery-anchored shopping centers.

As of Sep 30, 2021, Regency’s in-process development and redevelopment projects had estimated net project costs of $327 million and an estimated $144 million of remaining costs to complete these projects, each at Regency’s share. Though a huge development and redevelopment-projects pipeline is encouraging, it exposes REG to various risks such as the rising construction costs and lease-ups.

Key Picks

Some key picks from the retail REIT sector include Simon Property Group (SPG - Free Report) , Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT - Free Report) and STORE Capital Corporation (STOR - Free Report) .

Simon Property Group holds a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy), at present. SPG's 2021 FFO per share is expected to increase 23.8% year over year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Simon Property Group’s 2021 FFO per share has been revised nearly 4% upward in a month.

Federal Realty holds a Zacks Rank of 2, at present. FRT's long-term growth rate is projected at 8.40%.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Federal Realty’s 2021 FFO per share has been revised 4.1% upward in a month to $5.32.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for STORE Capital’s ongoing-year FFO per share has moved 1.1% north to $1.89 over the past month.

STORE Capital’s 2021 FFO per share suggests an increase of 3.3% year over year. Currently, STOR carries a Zacks Rank of 2.

Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represents funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs.