Washington Prime Group Provides Department Store Update

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Washington Prime Group Inc. (NYSE: WPG) continues to proactively manage its exposure to department stores situated within its Tier One and Open Air assets. This has been accomplished by the continued redevelopment of WPG owned department store space as well as the acquisition of space owned by retailers, including Sears. These capital allocation decisions continue to further the Company’s dominant secondary town center mandate via differentiated adaptive reuse where sales volume increases up to threefold.

Lou Conforti, CEO and Director of Washington Prime Group stated: “Two weeks ago we decided to once again raise the bar as it relates to department store visibility in particular and overall corporate transparency in general. During the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Real Estate Conference we supplemented our institutional investor presentation with a detailed progress report on every single one of the 28 department store spaces we consider ‘at risk’, which includes Sears exposure, in our Tier One and Open Air portfolio, excluding those spaces owned by Seritage or other non-retailers. In summary, we are actively planning redevelopment and/or are in discussions for 24 of the 28 spaces. The aforementioned presentation is available on the investor relations section of our website.”

Conforti added: “We’ve worked diligently to address unproductive department store space over the previous couple of years and recent reports of an imminent Sears bankruptcy filing shouldn’t come as a surprise to any landlord unless they own a few Zayre or E.J Korvette locations trapped in a space-time continuum where the Sansabelt clad relax on shag carpeting, illuminated by the warm glow of a lava lamp while they drink Tang and vodka and listen to The Moody Blues.”

Washington Prime Group has, in anticipatory fashion, accomplished the following:

Conforti stated: “Tenants which have failed to evolve in order to satisfy an increasingly savvy consumer do not belong in our assets. For those who embrace this necessary dynamism, respect their demographic constituencies and practice good old fashioned merchandising, we will bend over backwards by providing our robust infrastructure to ensure their success. Dillard’s is one such example of a department store retailer that is continually evolving and beta testing new product offerings whether it be their successful vintage handbag rollout or any number of exciting initiatives which target a specific audience.

“Bottom line: Washington Prime Group has and will continue to act as both a prudent asset and risk manager as we subject capital allocation decisions from both an absolute and relative (compared to our other investment opportunities) standpoint; and dispose of assets we deem as unproductive e.g. those which do not warrant a marginal unit of capital. We have the financial wherewithal to redevelop department store boxes which satisfy our ROIC parameters as well as result in the repositioning of the asset as the dominant town center within its catchment. In addition, we need to disabuse the farcical notion of a Sears bankruptcy filing (whether or not it comes to fruition) will come as a surprise to us. We have taken the appropriate financial, operational and strategic measures, and as a result regard such events as an opportunity.”

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Globe Newswire: 12:00 GMT Friday 12th October 2018

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