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Simon Extends Ties With Marriott, Aims UNTUCKit Store Opening

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Simon Property Group Inc. (SPG - Free Report) has been making concerted efforts to drive footfall at its properties. The company has been actively restructuring its portfolio and is aiming at premium acquisitions and transformative redevelopments.

In sync with these efforts, Marriott International and Simon are planning to open five new hotels in the next several years at Simon’s shopping centers. This will be beneficial for both the companies as mixed-use properties are becoming a popular choice among hotel companies.  This is because, leisure and business travelers prefer to explore shopping, dining and entertainment zones next to their hotels.

In fact, Marriott already has more than 15 hotels situated at Simon Properties and several other hotels by Marriott are located near the company’s properties.

Further, to beat the blues of declining mall traffic, Simon announced that it will be opening seven UNTUCKit stores at its properties in 2018 as it is one of the fastest-growing retail brands and wants to expand their business by opening physical stores. The company plans to open 25 stores across the United States in 2018.

Notably, mall traffic continues to suffer due to the rapid shift in customers' shopping preferences, with e-retail taking precedence. In fact, with e-commerce gaining market share from the brick-and-mortar stores, retailers are compelled to reconsider their footprint and eventually opt for store closures while others, unable to cope with competition, have been filing bankruptcies.

This also resulted in tenants demanding substantial lease concessions, which mall landlords find unjustified. Retail REITs like Simon Property, GGP Inc. (GGP - Free Report) , Kimco Realty Corp. (KIM - Free Report) , Macerich Company (MAC - Free Report) and others have felt the heat, and the companies’ share prices have been suffering for the past 12 months.

However, amid these, Simon is sparing no efforts to survive the changing market and make the best use of its properties. The company is making heavy investments not only to elevate the value of its retail properties but also for exploring mixed-use development option, which has gained immense popularity in recent years. Such developments lower the distance between housing, workplaces, retail businesses, and other amenities and destinations. Hence, the developments enable companies to grab the attention of people who prefer to live, work and play in the same area — a trend that drove development in several other cities in the United States.

Encouragingly, in the past month, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has outperformed the industry. While the company’s shares have gained 2.2%, the industry has recorded growth of 0.1%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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