Although it may have seemed shocking when SPG launched a nationwide branding campaign in early 1999, it proved to be a beneficial strategy, and those who once raised eyebrows at the idea are now seeing its worth. By associating the “Simon” name with high-quality retail environments, the company created a level of expectation shoppers and merchants have come to anticipate. “People know when they travel the country and see the Simon banner hanging at the mall, they will be able to expect a fundamental level below which the quality will never fall. They know they will get what they need when they see our name on the door,” says John Neutzling, executive vice president of Property Management, SPG.
SPG can rightfully boast ownership of the largest percentage of the United States’ top 163 malls, with 75 shopping centers located in upscale areas of North America’s 25 largest cities. Some of the most talked about shopping environments are among the company’s portfolio – Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island and The Fashion Centre in Arlington, VA, to name a few. More than 2 billion visits by 100 million distinct shoppers are made to Simon malls annually.
The company is looking forward to a continuation of its strong and successful past, in the years to come. “Although it is much easier to look back 10 years than it is to look forward, I can say without hesitation that our goal at SPG is to maintain our position as a leading company in our industry and to continue to increase shareholder value. This will be achieved by focusing on those strengths that made us an industry leader, by divesting ourselves of assets that do not create value for our portfolio, and by continuing to develop ways to connect in a meaningful way with the customer,” Simon projects.
On the agenda for the future, are plans to explore European markets in a bigger way. “I see us continuing our role as a dominant owner of regional malls, with an increased presence outside the United States. We’re just beginning to stick our toe in the water in Europe,” says Sterrett.
Although the company’s portfolio continues to grow, SPG has not forgotten to look closely at the value of each asset and its impact on the community that houses it. “While we are a relatively large institution and owner of real estate, we also know that we have to focus very carefully on that which is needed at the local level,” says Neutzling. This attention to regional market needs and dedication to providing the best properties and places to shop has been the hallmark of the company’s success. According to Neutzling, “That’s what our business is all about.”
Jana J. Madsen (email@example.com) is senior editor at Buildings magazine.