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United States
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
OR
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the transition period from _________ to _________

Commission file number 1-11986 (Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.)
Commission file number 333-3526-01 (Tanger Properties Limited Partnership)

TANGER FACTORY OUTLET CENTERS, INC.
TANGER PROPERTIES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

North Carolina
(Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.)
56-1815473
North Carolina
(Tanger Properties Limited Partnership)
56-1822494
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
 
3200 Northline Avenue, Suite 360, Greensboro, NC 27408
(Address of principal executive offices)
(336) 292-3010
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.:
Title of each class
Trading Symbol (s)
Name of exchange on which registered
Common Shares, $.01 par value
SKT
New York Stock Exchange
 
 
 
Tanger Properties Limited Partnership:
None
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.: None
Tanger Properties Limited Partnership: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.
Yes
No
Tanger Properties Limited Partnership
Yes
No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.
Yes
No
Tanger Properties Limited Partnership
Yes
No




1




Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.
Yes
No
Tanger Properties Limited Partnership
Yes
No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.
Yes
No
Tanger Properties Limited Partnership
Yes
No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer," “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.
Large Accelerated Filer
 
Accelerated Filer
Non-accelerated Filer
 
Smaller Reporting Company
 
 
 
Emerging Growth Company
Tanger Properties Limited Partnership
Large Accelerated Filer
 
Accelerated Filer
Non-accelerated Filer
 
Smaller Reporting Company
 
 
 
Emerging Growth Company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.
Tanger Properties Limited Partnership

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.
Yes
No
Tanger Properties Limited Partnership
Yes
No

The aggregate market value of voting shares held by non-affiliates of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. was approximately $1,489,302,811 based on the closing price on the New York Stock Exchange for such shares on June 28, 2019.

The number of Common Shares of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. outstanding as of February 7, 2020 was 92,892,260.

Documents Incorporated By Reference

Portions of Tanger Factory Outlet Center, Inc.'s definitive proxy statement to be filed with respect to the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated by reference in Part III.

2




PART I

EXPLANATORY NOTE

This report combines the annual reports on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. and Tanger Properties Limited Partnership. Unless the context indicates otherwise, the term "Company", refers to Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. and subsidiaries and the term "Operating Partnership" refers to Tanger Properties Limited Partnership and subsidiaries. The terms “we”, “our” and “us” refer to the Company or the Company and the Operating Partnership together, as the text requires.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. and subsidiaries is one of the largest owners and operators of outlet centers in the United States and Canada. The Company is a fully-integrated, self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust ("REIT"), which, through its controlling interest in the Operating Partnership, focuses exclusively on developing, acquiring, owning, operating and managing outlet shopping centers. The outlet centers and other assets are held by, and all of the operations are conducted by, the Operating Partnership. Accordingly, the descriptions of the business, employees and properties of the Company are also descriptions of the business, employees and properties of the Operating Partnership. As the Operating Partnership is the issuer of our registered debt securities, we are required to present a separate set of financial statements for this entity.

The Company owns the majority of the units of partnership interest issued by the Operating Partnership through its two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Tanger GP Trust and Tanger LP Trust. Tanger GP Trust controls the Operating Partnership as its sole general partner. Tanger LP Trust holds a limited partnership interest. As of December 31, 2019, the Company, through its ownership of Tanger GP Trust and Tanger LP Trust, owned 92,892,260 units of the Operating Partnership and other limited partners (the "Non-Company LPs") collectively owned 4,911,173 Class A common limited partnership units. Each Class A common limited partnership unit held by the Non-Company LPs is exchangeable for one of the Company's common shares, subject to certain limitations to preserve the Company's status as a REIT. Class B common limited partnership units, which are held by Tanger LP Trust, are not exchangeable for common shares of the Company.

Management operates the Company and the Operating Partnership as one enterprise. The management of the Company consists of the same members as the management of the Operating Partnership. These individuals are officers of the Company and employees of the Operating Partnership. The individuals that comprise the Company's Board of Directors are also the same individuals that make up Tanger GP Trust's Board of Trustees.

We believe combining the annual reports on Form 10-K of the Company and the Operating Partnership into this single report results in the following benefits:

enhancing investors' understanding of the Company and the Operating Partnership by enabling investors to view the business as a whole in the same manner as management views and operates the business;

eliminating duplicative disclosure and providing a more streamlined and readable presentation since a substantial portion of the disclosure applies to both the Company and the Operating Partnership; and

creating time and cost efficiencies through the preparation of one combined report instead of two separate reports.


3




There are only a few differences between the Company and the Operating Partnership, which are reflected in the disclosure in this report. We believe it is important, however, to understand these differences between the Company and the Operating Partnership in the context of how the Company and the Operating Partnership operate as an interrelated consolidated company.

As stated above, the Company is a REIT, whose only material asset is its ownership of partnership interests of the Operating Partnership through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, the Tanger GP Trust and Tanger LP Trust. As a result, the Company does not conduct business itself, other than issuing public equity from time to time and incurring expenses required to operate as a public company. However, all operating expenses incurred by the Company are reimbursed by the Operating Partnership, thus the only material item on the Company's income statement is its equity in the earnings of the Operating Partnership. Therefore, the assets and liabilities and the revenues and expenses of the Company and the Operating Partnership are the same on their respective financial statements, except for immaterial differences related to cash, other assets and accrued liabilities that arise from public company expenses paid by the Company. The Company itself does not hold any indebtedness but does guarantee certain debt of the Operating Partnership, as disclosed in this report.

The Operating Partnership holds all of the outlet centers and other assets, including the ownership interests in consolidated and unconsolidated joint ventures. The Operating Partnership conducts the operations of the business and is structured as a partnership with no publicly traded equity. Except for net proceeds from public equity issuances by the Company, which are contributed to the Operating Partnership in exchange for partnership units, the Operating Partnership generates the capital required through its operations, its incurrence of indebtedness or through the issuance of partnership units.

Noncontrolling interests, shareholder's equity and partners' capital are the main areas of difference between the consolidated financial statements of the Company and those of the Operating Partnership. The limited partnership interests in the Operating Partnership held by the Non-Company LPs are accounted for as partners' capital in the Operating Partnership's financial statements and as noncontrolling interests in the Company's financial statements.

To help investors understand the significant differences between the Company and the Operating Partnership, this report presents the following separate sections for each of the Company and the Operating Partnership:

Consolidated financial statements;

The following notes to the consolidated financial statements:

Debt of the Company and the Operating Partnership;

Shareholders' Equity and Partners' Equity;

Earnings Per Share and Earnings Per Unit;

Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income of the Company and the Operating Partnership; and

Liquidity and Capital Resources in the Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

This report also includes separate Item 9A. Controls and Procedures sections and separate Exhibit 31 and 32 certifications for each of the Company and the Operating Partnership in order to establish that the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of each entity have made the requisite certifications and that the Company and Operating Partnership are compliant with Rule 13a-15 or Rule 15d-15 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and 18 U.S.C. §1350.

The separate sections in this report for the Company and the Operating Partnership specifically refer to the Company and the Operating Partnership. In the sections that combine disclosure of the Company and the Operating Partnership, this report refers to actions or holdings as being actions or holdings of the Company. Although the Operating Partnership is generally the entity that enters into contracts and joint ventures and holds assets and debt, reference to the Company is appropriate because the business is one enterprise and the Company operates the business through the Operating Partnership.

4





The Company currently consolidates the Operating Partnership because it has (1) the power to direct the activities of the Operating Partnership that most significantly impact the Operating Partnership’s economic performance and (2) the obligation to absorb losses and the right to receive the residual returns of the Operating Partnership that could be potentially significant. The separate discussions of the Company and the Operating Partnership in this report should be read in conjunction with each other to understand the results of the Company on a consolidated basis and how management operates the Company.

ITEM 1.
BUSINESS

The Company and the Operating Partnership

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. and subsidiaries, which we refer to as the Company, is one of the largest owners and operators of outlet centers in the United States and Canada. We are a fully-integrated, self-administered and self-managed REIT, which focuses exclusively on developing, acquiring, owning, operating and managing outlet shopping centers. As of December 31, 2019, our consolidated portfolio consisted of 32 outlet centers, with a total gross leasable area of approximately 12.0 million square feet, which were 97% occupied and contained over 2,400 stores representing approximately 400 store brands. We also had partial ownership interests in 7 unconsolidated outlet centers totaling approximately 2.2 million square feet, including 3 outlet centers in Canada.

Our outlet centers and other assets are held by, and all of our operations are conducted by, Tanger Properties Limited Partnership and subsidiaries, which we refer to as the Operating Partnership. The Company owns the majority of the units of partnership interest issued by the Operating Partnership through its two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Tanger GP Trust and Tanger LP Trust. Tanger GP Trust controls the Operating Partnership as its sole general partner. Tanger LP Trust holds a limited partnership interest.

As of December 31, 2019, the Company, through its ownership of the Tanger GP Trust and Tanger LP Trust, owned 92,892,260 units of the Operating Partnership and the Non-Company LPs collectively owned 4,911,173 Class A common limited partnership units. Each Class A common limited partnership unit held by the Non-Company LPs is exchangeable for one of the Company's common shares, subject to certain limitations to preserve the Company's status as a REIT. Class B common limited partnership units, which are held by Tanger LP Trust, are not exchangeable for common shares of the Company.

Ownership of the Company's common shares is restricted to preserve the Company's status as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. Subject to certain exceptions, a person may not actually or constructively own more than 4% of our common shares. We also operate in a manner intended to enable us to preserve our status as a REIT, including, among other things, making distributions with respect to our then outstanding common shares and preferred shares, if applicable, equal to at least 90% of our taxable income each year.

The Company is a North Carolina corporation that was incorporated in March 1993 and the Operating Partnership is a North Carolina partnership that was formed in May 1993. Our executive offices are currently located at 3200 Northline Avenue, Suite 360, Greensboro, North Carolina, 27408 and our telephone number is (336) 292-3010. Our website can be accessed at www.tangeroutlet.com. Copies of our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and any amendments thereto can be obtained, free of charge, on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). The information found on, or otherwise accessible through, our website is not incorporated into, and does not form a part of, this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other report or document we file with or furnish to the SEC.


5




Recent Developments

Dispositions of Consolidated Outlet Centers

During March 2019, we closed on the sale of four non-core consolidated outlet centers for total gross proceeds of $130.5 million, and total net proceeds of approximately $128.2 million, which resulted in a gain on sale of assets of $43.4 million. The four properties were located in Nags Head, North Carolina; Ocean City, Maryland; Park City, Utah; and Williamsburg, Iowa and represented 6.8% of the Company’s consolidated portfolio square footage. The proceeds from the sale of these unencumbered assets were used to pay down balances outstanding under our unsecured lines of credit.

Share Repurchase Program

In February 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of an additional $44.3 million of our outstanding common shares for an aggregate authorization of $169.3 million until May 2021. The remaining amount authorized to be repurchased under the program as of December 31, 2019 was approximately $80.0 million.

The Outlet Concept

Outlet centers generally consist of stores operated by manufacturers and brand name retailers that sell primarily first quality, branded products, some of which are made specifically for the outlet distribution channel, to consumers at significant discounts from regular retail prices charged by department stores and specialty stores. Outlet centers offer advantages to manufacturers and brand name retailers as they are often able to charge customers lower prices for brand name and designer products by eliminating the third party retailer. Outlet centers also typically have lower operating costs than other retailing formats, enhancing their profit potential. Outlet centers enable retailers to optimize the size of production runs while continuing to maintain control of their distribution channels. Outlet centers also enable manufacturers and brand name retailers to establish a direct relationship with their customers.

We believe that outlet centers present an attractive opportunity for capital investment as many retailers view the outlet concept as a profitable distribution channel. However, due to present economic conditions, the availability of multiple retail channels, and the potential for increased competition from other outlet center developers, new developments or expansions may not provide an initial return on investment as high as has been historically achieved and there may not be as many opportunities to develop or expand.

Our Outlet Centers

Each of our outlet centers, except one joint venture property, carries the Tanger brand name. We believe that our tenants and consumers recognize the Tanger brand as one that provides outlet shopping centers where consumers can trust the brand, quality and price of the merchandise they purchase directly from the manufacturers and brand name retailers.

As one of the original participants in this industry, we have established long-standing relationships with many of our tenants that we believe is critical in developing and operating successful outlet centers.

Our consolidated outlet centers range in size from 104,009 to 739,110 square feet and are typically located at least 10 miles from major department stores and manufacturer-owned, full-price retail stores. Historically, manufacturers prefer these locations so that they do not compete directly with their major customers and their own stores. Many of our outlet centers are located near tourist destinations to attract tourists who consider shopping to be a recreational activity. Additionally, our centers are often situated in close proximity to interstate highways that provide accessibility and visibility to potential customers.

We have a diverse tenant base throughout our consolidated portfolio, comprised of approximately 400 manufacturers, brand name and discount apparel and home retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters, Banana Republic Factory Store, Calvin Klein, Coach, Gap Outlet, Hugo Boss Factory Store, Kate Spade New York, Lululemon Athletica, Nike Factory Store, North Face, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, T.J. Maxx, Tory Burch, Under Armour, Vineyard Vines, West Elm Outlet, Williams-Sonoma Outlet, and many more.


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No single tenant, including all of its store concepts, accounted for 10% or more of our combined base and percentage rental revenues during 2019, 2018 or 2017. As of December 31, 2019, no single tenant accounted for more than 8% of our leasable square feet or 7% of our combined base and percentage rental revenues.

A portion of our rental revenues are dependent on variable revenue sources. For the year ended December 31, 2019, the components of rental revenues are as follows (in thousands):
 
 
2019
Rental revenues - fixed
 
$
360,513

Rental revenues - variable (1)
 
103,433

Rental revenues
 
$
463,946

(1)
Primarily includes rents based on a percentage of tenant sales volume and reimbursable expenses such as common area expenses, utilities, insurance and real estate taxes.

Business History

Stanley K. Tanger, the Company's founder, entered the outlet center business in 1981. Prior to founding our company, Stanley K. Tanger and his son, Steven B. Tanger, our Chief Executive Officer, built and managed a successful family owned apparel manufacturing business, Tanger/Creighton, Inc., which included the operation of five outlet stores. Based on their knowledge of the apparel and retail industries, as well as their experience operating Tanger/Creighton, Inc.'s outlet stores, they recognized that there would be a demand for outlet centers where a number of manufacturers could operate in a single location and attract a large number of shoppers.

Steven B. Tanger joined the predecessor company in 1986, and by June 1993, the Tangers had developed 17 outlet centers totaling approximately 1.5 million square feet. In June 1993, we completed our initial public offering, making Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. the first publicly traded outlet center company. Since our initial public offering, we have grown our portfolio through the strategic development, expansion and acquisition of outlet centers and are now one of the largest owner operators of outlet centers in the United States and Canada.

Business Strategy

Our company has been built on a firm foundation of strong and enduring business relationships coupled with conservative business practices. We partner with many of the world's best known and most respected retailers and manufacturers. By fostering and maintaining strong tenant relationships with these successful, high volume companies, we have been able to solidify our position as a leader in the outlet industry for well over a quarter century. The confidence and trust that we have developed with our retail partners from the very beginning has allowed us to forge the impressive retail alliances that we enjoy today with our brand name retailers and manufacturers. Our seasoned team of real estate professionals utilize the knowledge and experience that we have gained to give us a competitive advantage in the outlet business.

As of December 31, 2019, our consolidated outlet centers were 97% occupied with average tenant sales of $395 per square foot. Our portfolio of properties has had an average occupancy rate of 95% or greater on December 31st of each year since the predecessor company was founded in 1981. We believe our ability to achieve this level of performance is a testament to our long-standing tenant relationships, industry experience and our expertise in the development, leasing and operation of outlet centers.





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Growth Strategy

Our goal is to build shareholder value through a comprehensive, conservative plan for sustained, long-term growth. We focus our efforts on increasing rents in our existing outlet centers, renovating and expanding selected outlet centers and reaching new markets through ground-up developments or acquisitions of existing outlet centers. While we expect new development to continue to be important to the growth of our portfolio in the long-term. However, the number of new development opportunities may be limited or completed at a slower pace than historically given the current disruption in the retail environment caused in part by Internet competition and numerous store closings as a result of bankruptcy filings or brand wide restructuring of certain retailers. Future outlet centers may be wholly-owned by us or developed through joint venture arrangements.

Increasing rents at existing outlet centers

Our leasing team focuses on the marketing of available space to maintain our standard for high occupancy levels. The majority of our leases are negotiated to provide for inflation-based contractual rent increases or periodic fixed contractual rent increases and percentage rents. We have historically been able to renew many leases at higher base rents per square-foot and replace underperforming tenants with new or existing tenants in our portfolio. Given the current retail environment as discussed above, we may choose to renew certain tenants or execute leases with new tenants at lower rental rates to maintain a high portfolio occupancy rate.

Developing new outlet centers

We believe that there continue to be opportunities to introduce the Tanger brand in untapped or under-served markets across the United States and Canada in the long-term. We believe our 39 years of outlet industry experience, extensive development expertise and strong retail relationships give us a distinct competitive advantage.

In order to identify new markets across North America, we follow a general set of guidelines when evaluating opportunities for the development of new outlet centers. This typically includes seeking locations within markets that have at least one million people residing within a 30 to 40 mile radius with an average household income of at least $65,000 per year, frontage on a major interstate or roadway that has excellent visibility and a traffic count of at least 55,000 cars per day. Leading tourist, vacation and resort markets that receive at least five million visitors annually are also closely evaluated. Although our current goal is to target sites that are large enough to support outlet centers with approximately 60 to 90 stores totaling at least 250,000 to 350,000 square feet, we maintain the flexibility to vary our minimum requirements based on the unique characteristics of a site, tenant demand and our prospects for future growth and success.

In order to help ensure the viability of proceeding with a project, we gauge the interest of our retail partners first. We typically prefer to have signed leases or leases out for negotiation with tenants for at least 60% of the space in each outlet center prior to acquiring the site and beginning construction; however, we may choose to proceed with construction with less than 60% of the space pre-leased under certain circumstances. Construction of a new outlet center has typically taken us nine to twelve months from groundbreaking to grand opening of the outlet center.

Expanding and renovating existing outlet centers

Keeping our outlet shopping centers vibrant and growing is a key part of our formula for success. In order to maintain our reputation as the premiere outlet shopping destination in the markets that we serve, we have an ongoing program of renovations and expansions taking place at our outlet centers. Construction for expansion and renovation to existing properties typically takes less time, usually between six to nine months depending on the scope of the project.

Acquiring outlet centers

We may selectively choose to acquire individual properties or portfolios of properties that meet our strategic investment criteria. We believe that our extensive experience in the outlet center business, access to capital markets, familiarity with real estate markets and our management experience will allow us to evaluate and execute our acquisition strategy successfully over time. Through our tenant relationships, our leasing professionals have the ability to implement a re-merchandising strategy when needed to increase occupancy rates and value. We believe that our managerial skills, marketing expertise and overall outlet industry experience will also allow us to add long-term value and viability to these outlet centers.

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Operating Strategy

Increasing cash flow to enhance the value of our properties and operations remains a primary business objective. Through targeted marketing and operational efficiencies, we strive to improve sales and profitability of our tenants and our outlet centers as a whole. Achieving higher base and percentage rents and generating additional income from temporary leasing, vending and other sources also remains an important focus and goal.

Leasing

Our long-standing retailer relationships and our focus on identifying emerging retailers allow us the ability to provide our shoppers with a collection of the world's most popular outlet stores. Tanger customers shop and save on their favorite brand name merchandise including men's, women's and children's ready-to-wear, lifestyle apparel, footwear, jewelry and accessories, tableware, housewares, luggage and home goods. In order for our outlet centers to perform at a high level, our leasing professionals continually monitor and evaluate tenant mix, store size, store location and sales performance. They also work to assist our tenants through re-sizing and re-location of retail space within each of our outlet centers for maximum sales of each retail unit across our portfolio.

Marketing
 
Our marketing plans deliver compelling, well-crafted messages and enticing promotions and events to targeted audiences. Our plans are based on a basic measure of success - increase sales and traffic for our retail partners and we will create successful outlet centers. Utilizing a strategic mix of print, radio, television, direct mail, our consumer website, Internet advertising, social networks, mobile applications and public relations, we consistently reinforce the Tanger brand. Our marketing efforts are also designed to build loyalty with current Tanger shoppers and create awareness with potential customers. The majority of consumer-marketing expenses incurred by us are reimbursable by our tenants.

Capital Strategy

We believe we achieve a strong and flexible financial position by attempting to: (1) maintain a conservative leverage position relative to our portfolio when pursuing new development, expansion and acquisition opportunities, (2) extend and sequence debt maturities, (3) manage our interest rate risk through a proper mix of fixed and variable rate debt, (4) maintain access to liquidity by using our lines of credit in a conservative manner and (5) preserve internally generated sources of capital by strategically divesting of our non-core assets and maintaining a conservative distribution payout ratio. We manage our capital structure to reflect a long-term investment approach and utilize multiple sources of capital to meet our requirements.

We intend to retain the ability to raise additional capital, including public debt or equity, to pursue attractive investment opportunities that may arise and to otherwise act in a manner that we believe to be in the best interests of our shareholders and unitholders. We are a well-known seasoned issuer with a shelf registration statement on Form S-3 that allows us to register unspecified amounts of different classes of securities. To generate capital to reinvest into other attractive investment opportunities, we may also consider the use of additional operational and developmental joint ventures, the sale or lease of outparcels on our existing properties and the sale of certain properties that do not meet our long-term investment criteria. Based on cash provided by operations, existing lines of credit, ongoing relationships with certain financial institutions and our ability to issue debt or equity subject to market conditions, we believe that we have access to the necessary financing to fund our planned capital expenditures during 2020.
 
We anticipate that adequate cash will be available to fund our operating and administrative expenses, regular debt service obligations, and the payment of dividends in accordance with REIT requirements in both the short and long-term. Although we receive most of our rental payments on a monthly basis, distributions to shareholders and unitholders are made quarterly and interest payments on the senior, unsecured notes are made semi-annually. Amounts accumulated for such payments will be used in the interim to reduce the outstanding borrowings under our existing lines of credit or invested in short-term money market or other suitable instruments adhering to our investment policies.




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We believe our current balance sheet position is financially sound; however, due to the uncertainty and unpredictability of the capital and credit markets, we can give no assurance that affordable access to capital will exist between now and when our next significant debt maturity, which is our unsecured lines of credit. The unsecured lines of credit expire in 2021, with a one-year extension option that may extend the maturity to 2022. As a result, our current primary focus is to continually strengthen our capital and liquidity position by controlling and reducing construction and overhead costs, generating positive cash flows from operations to cover our distributions and reducing outstanding debt.

Competition

We carefully consider the degree of existing and planned competition in a proposed area before deciding to develop, acquire or expand a new outlet center. Our outlet centers compete for customers primarily with outlet centers built and operated by different developers, traditional shopping malls, full- and off-price retailers and e-commerce retailers. We believe that the majority of our customers visit outlet centers because they are intent on buying name-brand products at discounted prices. Traditional full-and off-price retailers and e-commerce retailers are often unable to provide such a variety and depth of name-brand products at attractive prices.

Because our revenues are ultimately linked to our tenants' success, we are affected by the same competitive factors, such as consumer spending habits and on-line shopping, as our tenants. Tenants of outlet centers are generally adverse to direct competition with major brick and mortar retailers and their own specialty stores. For this reason, our outlet centers generally compete only to a limited extent with traditional malls in or near metropolitan areas as our centers are typically located at least 10 miles from major department stores and manufacturer-owned, full-price retail stores. In recent years, some of our tenants have been adversely impacted by changes in consumer spending habits and the convenience of on-line shopping.

We compete with institutional pension funds, private equity investors, other REITs, individual owners of outlet centers, specialty stores and others who are engaged in the acquisition, development or ownership of outlet centers and stores. In addition, the number of entities competing to acquire or develop outlet centers has increased and may continue to increase in the future, which could increase demand for these outlet centers and the prices we must pay to acquire or develop them. Nevertheless, we believe the high barriers to entry in the outlet industry, including the need for extensive marketing programs to drive traffic to the centers and relationships with premier manufacturers and brand name retailers, will continue to limit the number of new outlet centers developed each year.

Financial Information

We have one reportable operating segment. For financial information regarding our segment, see our consolidated financial statements.

Corporate and Regional Headquarters

We rent space in an office building in Greensboro, North Carolina where our corporate headquarters is located as well as a regional office in Miami, Florida.

As of February 1, 2020, we maintain offices and employ on-site management at 34 consolidated and unconsolidated outlet centers. The managers closely monitor the operation, marketing and local relationships at each of their outlet centers.


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Insurance

We believe that as a whole our properties are covered by adequate comprehensive liability, fire, flood, earthquake and extended loss insurance provided by reputable companies with commercially reasonable and customary deductibles and limits. Northline Indemnity, LLC, ("Northline"), a wholly-owned captive insurance subsidiary of the Operating Partnership, is responsible for losses up to certain levels for property damage (including wind damage from hurricanes) prior to third-party insurance coverage. Specified types and amounts of insurance are required to be carried by each tenant under their lease. There are however, types of losses, like those resulting from wars or nuclear radiation, which may either be uninsurable or not economically insurable in some or all of our locations. An uninsured loss could result in a loss to us of both our capital investment and anticipated profits from the affected property.

Employees

As of February 1, 2020, we had 285 full-time employees, located at our corporate headquarters in North Carolina, our regional office in Miami and 34 business offices. At that date, we also employed 351 part-time employees at various locations.

ITEM 1A.RISK FACTORS

Risks Related to Real Estate Investments

We may be unable to develop new outlet centers or expand existing outlet centers successfully.

We intend to continue to develop new outlet centers and expand existing outlet centers as opportunities arise. However, there are significant risks associated with our development activities in addition to those generally associated with the ownership and operation of established retail properties. While we have policies in place designed to limit the risks associated with development, these policies do not mitigate all development risks associated with a project. These risks include the following:

significant expenditure of money and time on projects that may be delayed or never be completed;

higher than projected construction costs;

shortage of construction materials and supplies;

failure to obtain zoning, occupancy or other governmental approvals or to the extent required, tenant approvals; and

late completion because of construction delays, delays in the receipt of zoning, occupancy and other approvals or other factors outside of our control.

Any or all of these factors may impede our development strategy and adversely affect our overall business.

The economic performance and the market value of our outlet centers are dependent on risks associated with real property investments.

Real property investments are subject to varying degrees of risk. The economic performance and values of real estate may be affected by many factors, including changes in the national, regional and local economic climate, inflation, changes in government policies and regulations, unemployment rates, consumer confidence, consumer shopping preferences, local conditions such as an oversupply of space or a reduction in demand for real estate in the area, the attractiveness of the properties to tenants, competition from other available space, our ability to provide adequate maintenance and insurance and increased operating costs.






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Real property investments are relatively illiquid.

Our outlet centers represent a substantial portion of our total consolidated assets. These assets are relatively illiquid. As a result, our ability to sell one or more of our outlet centers in response to any changes in economic or other conditions is limited. If we want to sell an outlet center, there can be no assurance that we will be able to dispose of it in the desired time period or that the sales price will exceed the cost of our investment.

Properties have been in the past and may be in the future subject to impairment charges which can adversely affect our financial results.

We periodically evaluate long-lived assets to determine if there has been any impairment in their carrying values and record impairment losses if the undiscounted cash flows estimated to be generated by those assets are less than their carrying amounts or if there are other indicators of impairment.  If it is determined that an impairment has occurred, we would be required to record an impairment charge equal to the excess of the asset's carrying value over its estimated fair value, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial results in the accounting period in which the adjustment is made.  Our estimates of undiscounted cash flows expected to be generated by each property are based on a number of assumptions that are subject to economic and market uncertainties including, but not limited to, estimated hold period, terminal capitalization rates, demand for space, competition for tenants, changes in market rental rates and costs to operate each property. As these factors are difficult to predict and are subject to future events that may alter our assumptions, the future cash flows estimated in our impairment analysis may not be achieved.

Also, we assess whether there are any indicators that the value of our investments in unconsolidated joint ventures may be impaired. An investment is impaired only if management's estimate of the value of the investment is less than the carrying value of the investments, and such decline in value is deemed to be other than temporary. To the extent impairment has occurred, the loss is measured as the excess of the carrying amount of the investment over the estimated fair value of the investment. Our estimates of value for each joint venture investment are based on a number of assumptions that are subject to economic and market uncertainties including, among others, estimated hold period, terminal capitalization rates, demand for space, competition for tenants, discount and capitalization rates, changes in market rental rates and operating costs of the property. As these factors are difficult to predict and are subject to future events that may alter our assumptions, the values estimated by us in our impairment analysis may not be realized.

In recent years, we have recorded impairment charges related to both our long-lived assets and our investments in consolidated joint ventures. In addition, based upon current market conditions, one of our outlet centers has an estimated fair value significantly less than its recorded carrying value of approximately $100.0 million. However, based on our current plan with respect to that outlet center, we believe that its carrying amount is recoverable and therefore no impairment charge was recorded. Accordingly, we will continue to monitor circumstances and events in future periods that could affect inputs such as the expected holding period, operating cash flow forecasts and capitalization rates, utilized to determine whether an impairment charge is necessary.  As these inputs are difficult to predict and are subject to future events that may alter our assumptions, the future cash flows estimated by management in its impairment analysis may not be achieved, and actual losses or impairment may be realized in the future.

Dispositions may not achieve anticipated results.

From time to time, we have strategically disposed of assets, and may dispose of additional assets in the future, with the goal of improving the overall performance of our core portfolio. However, we may not achieve the results we originally anticipated at the time of disposition. If we are not successful at achieving the anticipated results, there is a potential for a significant adverse impact on our returns and our overall profitability.


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We face competition for the acquisition and development of outlet centers, and we may not be able to complete acquisitions or developments that we have identified.

We intend to grow our business in part through acquisitions and new developments. We compete with institutional pension funds, private equity investors, other REITs, small owners of outlet centers, specialty stores and others who are engaged in the acquisition, development or ownership of outlet centers and stores. These competitors may succeed in acquiring or developing outlet centers themselves. Also, our potential acquisition targets may find our competitors to be more attractive acquirers because they may have greater marketing and financial resources, may be willing to pay more, or may have a more compatible operating philosophy. In addition, the number of entities competing to acquire or develop outlet centers has increased and may continue to increase in the future, which could increase demand for these outlet centers and the prices we must pay to acquire or develop them. If we pay higher prices for outlet centers, our profitability may be reduced. Also, once we have identified potential acquisitions, such acquisitions are subject to the successful completion of due diligence, the negotiation of definitive agreements and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. We cannot assure you that we will be able to reach acceptable terms with the sellers or that these conditions will be satisfied.

We may be subject to environmental regulation.

Under various federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations, we may be considered an owner or operator of real property and may be responsible for paying for the disposal or treatment of hazardous or toxic substances released on or in our property or disposed of by us, as well as certain other potential costs which could relate to hazardous or toxic substances (including governmental fines and injuries to persons and property). This liability may be imposed whether or not we knew about, or were responsible for, the presence of hazardous or toxic substances.

Possible terrorist activity, other acts or threats of violence, public health crises and threats to public safety could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Terrorist attacks and threats of terrorist attacks, whether in the United States, Canada or elsewhere, or other acts or threats of violence may result in declining economic activity, which could harm the demand for goods and services offered by our tenants and the value of our properties and might adversely affect the value of an investment in our securities. Similarly, public health crises may negatively impact consumer spending. Such a resulting decrease in retail demand could make it difficult for us to renew or re-lease our properties and may adversely impact our results of operations to the extent our revenues are dependent on variable revenue sources.

Terrorist activities or violence also could directly affect the value of our properties through damage, destruction or loss. In addition, these acts and threats might erode business and consumer confidence and spending, and might result in increased volatility in national and international financial markets and economies. Any one of these events might decrease demand for real estate, decrease or delay the occupancy of our properties, impair the ability of tenants to meet their obligations under their existing leases, limit our access to capital, increase our cost of raising capital and/or give rise to third party claims.

Risks Related to our Business

Our earnings and therefore our profitability are dependent on rental income from real property.

Substantially all of our income is derived from rental income from real property. Our income and funds for distribution would be adversely affected if rental rates at our centers decrease, if a significant number of our tenants were unable to meet their obligations to us or if we were unable to lease a significant amount of space in our outlet centers on economically favorable lease terms. In addition, the terms of outlet store tenant leases traditionally have been significantly shorter than in other retail segments. There can be no assurance that any tenant whose lease expires in the future will renew such lease or that we will be able to re-lease space on economically favorable terms.


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We are substantially dependent on the results of operations of our retail tenants and their bankruptcy, early termination or closing could adversely affect us.

Our operations are subject to the results of operations of our retail tenants. A portion of our rental revenues are derived from percentage rents that directly depend on the sales volume of certain tenants. Accordingly, declines in these tenants' results of operations would reduce the income produced by our properties. If the sales or profitability of our retail tenants decline sufficiently, whether due to a change in consumer preferences, legislative changes that increase the cost of their operations or otherwise, such tenants may be unable to pay their existing rents as such rents would represent a higher percentage of their sales. Any resulting leasing delays, failures to make payments or tenant bankruptcies could result in the termination of such tenants' leases.

A number of companies in the retail industry, including some of our tenants, have declared bankruptcy or have voluntarily closed all or certain of their stores in recent years. The bankruptcy of a major tenant or number of tenants may result in the closing of certain affected stores or reduction of rent for stores that remain operating. For example, in 2018 and 2019, our revenues were adversely affected by bankruptcy filings and other tenant closures during those periods. We expect other store closings to impact our operating results in 2020. In addition, certain of our lease agreements include co-tenancy and/or sales-based provisions that may allow a tenant to pay reduced rent and/or terminate a lease prior to its natural expiration if we fail to maintain certain occupancy levels or retain specified named tenants, or if the tenant does not achieve certain specified sales targets.

Re-leasing this space may take longer than our historical experience. In addition, we may be unable to replace the space at equal or greater rent, and/or we may incur significant tenant allowances to induce tenants to enter into leases. As such, the closings of a significant amount of stores could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and could result in a lower level of funds for distribution.

Certain of our properties are subject to ownership interests held by third parties, whose interests may conflict with ours and thereby constrain us from taking actions concerning these properties which otherwise would be in our best interests and our shareholders' interests.

We own partial interests in outlet centers with various joint venture partners. The approval or consent of the other members of these joint ventures is required before we may sell, finance, expand or make other significant changes in the operations of these properties. We also may not have control over certain major decisions, including approval of the annual operating budgets, selection or termination of the property management company, leasing and the timing and amount of distributions, which could result in decisions that do not fully reflect our interests. To the extent such approvals or consents are required, we may experience difficulty in, or may be prevented from, implementing our plans and strategies with respect to expansion, development, property management, on-going operations, financing (for example, decisions as to whether to refinance or obtain financing, when and whether to pay down principal of any loan and whether and how to cure any defaults under loan documents) or other similar transactions with respect to such properties.

We face risks associated with climate change.

To the extent climate change causes changes in weather patterns, our properties in certain markets could experience, among other impacts, increases in storm intensity, rising sea levels and other natural disasters. Over time, these conditions could result in volatile or decreased demand for retail space at certain of our properties or, in extreme cases, our inability to operate the properties at all. Climate change may also have indirect effects on our business by increasing the cost of (or making unavailable) insurance on favorable terms, or at all, increasing the cost of energy at our properties or requiring us to spend funds to repair and protect our properties against such risks. Moreover, compliance with new laws or regulations related to climate change, including compliance with “green” building codes, may require us to make improvements to our existing properties or increase taxes and fees assessed on us or our properties.


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An uninsured loss or a loss that exceeds our insurance policies on our outlet centers or the insurance policies of our tenants could subject us to lost capital and revenue on those outlet centers.

Some of the risks to which our outlet centers are subject, including risks of terrorist attacks, war, earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters, are not insurable or may not be insurable in the future. Should a loss occur that is uninsured or in an amount exceeding the combined aggregate limits for the insurance policies noted above or in the event of a loss that is subject to a substantial deductible under an insurance policy, we could lose all or part of our capital invested in and anticipated revenue from one or more of our outlet centers, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition, as well as our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.

Under the terms and conditions of our leases, tenants generally are required to indemnify and hold us harmless from liabilities resulting from injury to persons and contamination of air, water, land or property, on or off the premises, due to activities conducted in the leased space, except for claims arising from negligence or intentional misconduct by us or our agents. Additionally, tenants generally are required, at the tenant's expense, to obtain and keep in full force during the term of the lease, liability and property damage insurance policies issued by companies acceptable to us. These policies include liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage arising out of the ownership, use, occupancy or maintenance of the leased space. All of these policies may involve substantial deductibles and certain exclusions. Therefore, an uninsured loss or loss that exceeds the insurance policies of our tenants could also subject us to lost capital and revenue.

Consumer spending habits have changed and may continue to evolve.

Certain retailers have experienced, and may continue to experience for the foreseeable future considerable decreases in customer traffic in their retail stores, increased competition from alternative retail options such as those accessible via the Internet and other forms of pressure on their business models. As pressure on such retailers increases, their ability to maintain their stores, meet their obligations both to us and to their external lenders and suppliers, withstand takeover attempts by investors or rivals or avoid bankruptcy and/or liquidation may be impaired, adversely impacting our results of operations to the extent our revenues are dependent on variable revenue sources, and resulting in closures of their stores or their seeking a lease modification with us. Any lease renewal or modification could be unfavorable to us as the lessor and could decrease rents or expense recovery charges.

Our Canadian investments may subject us to different or greater risk from those associated with our domestic operations.

As of December 31, 2019, through a co-ownership arrangement with a Canadian REIT, we have an ownership interest in three properties in Canada.  Our operating results and the value of our Canadian operations may be impacted by any unhedged movements in the Canadian dollar. Canadian ownership activities carry risks that are different from those we face with our domestic properties. These risks include:

adverse effects of changes in the exchange rate between the U.S. and Canadian dollar;

changes in Canadian political and economic environments, regionally, nationally, and locally;

challenges of complying with a wide variety of foreign laws;

changes in applicable laws and regulations in the United States that affect foreign operations;

property management services being provided directly by our 50/50 ​co-owner, not by us; and

obstacles to the repatriation of earnings and cash.

Any or all of these factors may adversely impact our operations and financial results, as well as our overall business.


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Our success significantly depends on our key personnel and our ability to attract and retain key personnel.

Our success depends upon the personal efforts and abilities of our senior management team and other key personnel. Although we believe we have a strong management team with relevant industry expertise, the extended loss of the services of key personnel could have a material adverse effect on the securities markets' view of our prospects and materially harm our business. Also, our success and the achievement of our goals are dependent upon our ability to attract and retain qualified employees.

Risks Related to our Indebtedness and Financial Markets

We are subject to the risks associated with debt financing.

We are subject to the risks associated with debt financing, including the risk that the cash provided by our operating activities will be insufficient to meet required payments of principal and interest. Disruptions in the capital and credit markets may adversely affect our operations, including the ability to fund the planned capital expenditures and potential new developments or acquisitions. Further, there is the risk that we will not be able to repay or refinance existing indebtedness or that the terms of any refinancing will not be as favorable as the terms of existing indebtedness. If we are unable to access capital markets to refinance our indebtedness on acceptable terms, we might be forced to dispose of properties on disadvantageous terms, which might result in losses.

The Operating Partnership guarantees debt or otherwise provides support for a number of joint venture properties.

Joint venture debt is the liability of the joint venture and is typically secured by a mortgage on the joint venture property. A default by a joint venture under its debt obligations may expose us to liability under a guaranty. We may elect to fund cash needs of a joint venture through equity contributions (generally on a basis proportionate to our ownership interests), advances or partner loans, although such funding is not typically required contractually or otherwise.

Our interest rate hedging arrangements may not effectively limit our interest rate risk exposure.

We manage our exposure to interest rate risk by periodically entering into interest rate hedging agreements to effectively fix a portion of our variable rate debt. Our use of interest rate hedging arrangements to manage risk associated with interest rate volatility may expose us to additional risks, including that a counterparty to a hedging arrangement may fail to honor its obligations. We enter into swaps that are exempt from the requirements of central clearing and/or trading on a designated contract market or swap execution facility pursuant to the applicable regulations and rules, and thus there may be more counterparty risk relative to others who do not utilize such exemption. Developing an effective interest rate risk strategy is complex and no strategy can completely insulate us from risks associated with interest rate fluctuations. There can be no assurance that our hedging activities will have the desired beneficial impact on our results of operations or financial condition. We might be subject to additional costs, such as transaction fees or breakage costs, if we terminate these arrangements.

Uncertainty relating to the determination of LIBOR and the phasing out of LIBOR after 2021 may adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition, liquidity and net worth.

In July 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) that regulates the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) announced it intends to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. As a result, the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York organized the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”), which identified the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) as its preferred alternative to LIBOR in derivatives and other financial contracts. We are not able to predict when LIBOR may be limited or discontinued or when there will be sufficient liquidity in the SOFR market.


16




As of December 31, 2019, we had $401.4 million of debt and nine interest rate swaps with an aggregate notional value of $390.0 million outstanding that were indexed to LIBOR. In addition, we have a $600.0 million unsecured revolving line of credit facility that is indexed to LIBOR but had no borrowings under it.  We are monitoring and evaluating the risks related to potential changes in LIBOR availability, which include potential changes in interest paid on debt and amounts received and paid on interest rate swaps. In addition, the value of debt or derivative instruments tied to LIBOR could also be impacted when LIBOR is limited or discontinued and contracts must be transitioned to a new alternative rate. For some instruments, the method of transitioning to an alternative rate may be challenging, as they may require negotiation with the respective counterparty. If a contract is not transitioned to an alternative rate and LIBOR is discontinued, the impact on our contracts is likely to vary by contract.

While we expect LIBOR to be available in substantially its current form until the end of 2021, it is possible that LIBOR will become unavailable prior to that time. This could occur, for example, if a sufficient number of banks decline to make submissions to the LIBOR administrator. In that case, the risks associated with the transition to an alternative reference rate would be accelerated and/or magnified. Any of these events could have an adverse effect on our financing costs, and as a result, our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.

The market price of our common shares or other securities may fluctuate significantly in response to many factors.

Factors that could cause our securities to fluctuate significantly include but are not limited to; actual or anticipated variations in our operating results; cash flows or liquidity; changes in our earnings estimates or those of analysts; changes in our dividend policy; impairment charges affecting the carrying value of one or more of our outlet centers; changes in the general retail environment; shareholder activism and bankruptcy or brand-wide restructurings of retailers. In addition, a large proportion of our common shares has been and may continue to be traded by short sellers which may put pressure on the supply and demand for our common shares.

Risks Related to Federal Income Tax Laws

The Company's failure to qualify as a REIT could subject our earnings to corporate level taxation.

We believe that we have operated and intend to operate in a manner that permits the Company to qualify as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Internal Revenue Code"). However, we cannot assure you that the Company has qualified or will remain qualified as a REIT. If in any taxable year the Company were to fail to qualify as a REIT and certain statutory relief provisions were not applicable, the Company would not be allowed a deduction for distributions to shareholders in computing taxable income and would be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income at the regular corporate rate. Also, we could be disqualified from treatment as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which qualification was lost. Accordingly, the Company's failure to qualify for taxation as a REIT would result in a significant reduction in cash available for distribution to our shareholders, and thus may adversely affect the market price and marketability of our securities.

The Company is required by law to make distributions to our shareholders.

To obtain the favorable tax treatment associated with the Company's qualification as a REIT, generally, the Company is required to distribute to its shareholders at least 90% of its net taxable income (excluding capital gains) each year. The Company depends upon distributions or other payments from the Operating Partnership to make distributions to the Company's common shareholders. The Company is allowed to satisfy the REIT income distribution requirement by distributing up to 80% of the dividends on its common shares in the form of additional common shares in lieu of paying dividends entirely in cash. Although we reserve the right to utilize this procedure in the future, we currently have no intent to do so.

Federal or state legislative or other actions could adversely affect our shareholders.

Future changes to tax laws may adversely affect the taxation of the REIT, its subsidiaries or its shareholders. These changes could have an adverse effect on an investment in our shares or on the market value or the resale potential of our assets.



17




These potential changes could generally result in REITs having fewer tax advantages, and may lead REITs to determine that it would be more advantageous to elect to be taxed, for federal income tax purposes, as a corporation.

Additionally, not all states automatically conform to changes in the Internal Revenue Code. This could increase the complexity of our compliance costs, and may subject us to additional tax and audit risk.

Risks Related to our Organizational Structure

The Company depends on distributions from the Operating Partnership to meet its financial obligations, including dividends.

The Company's operations are conducted by the Operating Partnership, and the Company's only significant asset is its interest in the Operating Partnership. As a result, the Company depends upon distributions or other payments from the Operating Partnership in order to meet its financial obligations, including its obligations under any guarantees or to pay dividends or liquidation payments to its common shareholders. As a result, these obligations are effectively subordinated to existing and future liabilities of the Operating Partnership. The Operating Partnership is a party to loan agreements with various bank lenders that require the Operating Partnership to comply with various financial and other covenants before it may make distributions to the Company. Although the Operating Partnership presently is in compliance with these covenants, there is no assurance that the Operating Partnership will continue to be in compliance and that it will be able to make distributions to the Company.

Risks Related to Cyber Security

Cyber-attacks or acts of cyber-terrorism could disrupt our business operations and information technology systems or result in the loss or exposure of confidential or sensitive customer, employee or Company information.

Our business operations and information technology systems may be attacked by individuals or organizations intending to disrupt our business operations and information technology systems, whether through cyber attacks or cyber-intrusions over the Internet, malware, computer viruses, attachments to e-mails, persons inside our organization, or persons with access to systems inside our organization. The risk of a security breach or disruption, particularly through cyber attacks or cyber-intrusion, including by computer hackers, foreign governments, and cyber terrorists, has generally increased as the number, intensity and sophistication of attempted attacks and intrusions from around the world have increased. We use information technology systems to manage our outlet centers and other business processes. Disruption of those systems could adversely impact our ability to operate our business to provide timely service to our customers and maintain our relationships with our tenants. Accordingly, if such an attack or act of terrorism were to occur, our operations and financial results could be adversely affected. In addition, we use our information technology systems to protect confidential or sensitive customer, employee and Company information developed and maintained in the normal course of our business. Any attack on such systems that would result in the unauthorized release or loss of customer, employee or other confidential or sensitive data could have a material adverse effect on our business reputation, increase our costs and expose us to material legal claims and liability. As a result, if such an attack or act of terrorism were to occur, our operations and financial results and our share price could be adversely affected.

While we maintain some of our own critical information technology systems, we also depend on third parties to provide important information technology services relating to several key business functions, such as payroll, electronic communications and certain accounting and finance functions. Our measures to prevent, detect and mitigate these threats, including password protection, firewalls, backup servers, threat monitoring and periodic penetration testing, may not be successful in preventing a data breach or limiting the effects of a breach. Furthermore, the security measures employed by third-party service providers may prove to be ineffective at preventing breaches of their systems.

ITEM 1B.
UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

There are no unresolved staff comments from the SEC for either the Company or the Operating Partnership.


18




ITEM 2.
PROPERTIES

As of December 31, 2019, our consolidated portfolio consisted of 32 outlet centers totaling 12.0 million square feet located in 19 states. We own interests in seven other outlet centers totaling approximately 2.2 million square feet through unconsolidated joint ventures, including three outlet centers in Canada. Our consolidated outlet centers range in size from 104,009 to 739,110 square feet. The outlet centers are generally located near tourist destinations or along major interstate highways to provide visibility and accessibility to potential customers.

We believe that the outlet centers are well diversified geographically and by tenant and that we are not dependent upon any single property or tenant. The outlet center in Deer Park, New York is the only property that comprises 10% or more of our consolidated total assets as of December 31, 2019. No property comprises more than 10% of our consolidated revenues for the year ended December 31, 2019. See "Properties - Significant Property" for further details.

We have an ongoing strategy of acquiring outlet centers, developing new outlet centers and expanding existing outlet centers. See “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources” for a discussion of the cost of such programs and the sources of financing thereof.

As of December 31, 2019, of the 32 outlet centers in our consolidated portfolio, we own the land underlying 26 and have ground leases on six. The following table sets forth information about the land leases on which all or a portion of the outlet centers are located:
Outlet Center
 
Acres
 
Expiration
 
Expiration including renewal terms at our option
Myrtle Beach Hwy 17, SC
 
40.0

 
2027
 
2096
Atlantic City, NJ
 
21.3

 
2101
 
2101
Sevierville, TN
 
43.6

 
2086
 
2086
Riverhead, NY
 
47.0

 
2024
 
2039
Mashantucket, CT (Foxwoods)
 
8.1

 
2040
 
2090
Rehoboth Beach, DE
 
2.7

 
2044
 
(1) 
(1)
Lease may be renewed at our option for additional terms of twenty years each.

Generally, our leases with our outlet center tenants typically have an initial term that ranges from 5 to 10 years and provide for the payment of fixed monthly rent in advance. There are often contractual base rent increases during the initial term of the lease. In addition, the rental payments are customarily subject to upward adjustments based upon tenant sales volume. A component of most leases includes a pro-rata share or escalating fixed contributions by the tenant for property operating expenses, including common area maintenance, real estate taxes, insurance and advertising and promotion, thereby reducing exposure to increases in costs and operating expenses resulting from inflation.



19




The following table summarizes certain information with respect to our consolidated outlet centers as of December 31, 2019:
State
 
Number of
Outlet Centers
 
Square
Feet
 
%
of Square Feet
South Carolina
 
5

 
1,600,362

 
13
New York
 
2

 
1,468,888

 
12
Georgia
 
3

 
1,121,579

 
9
Texas
 
3

 
1,001,357

 
8
Pennsylvania
 
3

 
1,000,556

 
8
Michigan
 
2

 
671,541

 
6
Delaware
 
1

 
557,353

 
5
Alabama
 
1

 
554,587

 
5
New Jersey
 
1

 
489,718

 
4
Tennessee
 
1

 
447,815

 
4
North Carolina
 
2

 
422,895

 
3
Ohio
 
1

 
411,867

 
3
Arizona
 
1

 
410,751

 
3
Florida
 
1

 
351,721

 
3
Missouri
 
1

 
329,861

 
3
Mississippi
 
1

 
324,716

 
3
Louisiana
 
1

 
321,066

 
3
Connecticut
 
1

 
311,507

 
3
New Hampshire
 
1

 
250,107

 
2
Total
 
32

 
12,048,247

 
100


20




The following table summarizes certain information with respect to our existing outlet centers in which we have an ownership interest as of December 31, 2019. Except as noted, all properties are fee owned:
Location
 
Legal Ownership %
 
Square Feet
 
% Occupied
 
Consolidated Outlet Centers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Deer Park, New York
 
100

 
739,110

 
99
 
Riverhead, New York (1)
 
100

 
729,778

 
97
 
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (1)
 
100

 
557,353

 
99
 
Foley, Alabama
 
100

 
554,587

 
94
 
Atlantic City, New Jersey (1) (3)
 
100

 
489,718

 
80
 
San Marcos, Texas
 
100

 
471,816

 
96
 
Sevierville, Tennessee (1)
 
100

 
447,815

 
100
 
Savannah, Georgia
 
100

 
429,089

 
98
 
Myrtle Beach Hwy 501, South Carolina
 
100

 
426,523

 
98
 
Jeffersonville, Ohio
 
100

 
411,867

 
92
 
Glendale, Arizona (Westgate)
 
100

 
410,751

 
100
 
Myrtle Beach Hwy 17, South Carolina (1)
 
100

 
403,425

 
100
 
Charleston, South Carolina
 
100

 
382,180

 
100
 
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
 
100

 
376,997

 
95
 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
 
100

 
373,863

 
97
 
Commerce, Georgia
 
100

 
371,408

 
97
 
Grand Rapids, Michigan
 
100

 
357,103

 
97
 
Fort Worth, Texas
 
100

 
351,741

 
100
 
Daytona Beach, Florida
 
100

 
351,721

 
99
 
Branson, Missouri
 
100

 
329,861

 
100
 
Southaven, Mississippi (2) (3)
 
50

 
324,716

 
100
 
Locust Grove, Georgia
 
100

 
321,082

 
100
 
Gonzales, Louisiana
 
100

 
321,066

 
99
 
Mebane, North Carolina
 
100

 
318,886

 
100
 
Howell, Michigan
 
100

 
314,438

 
94
 
Mashantucket, Connecticut (Foxwoods) (1)
 
100

 
311,507

 
95
 
Tilton, New Hampshire
 
100

 
250,107

 
96
 
Hershey, Pennsylvania
 
100

 
249,696

 
100
 
Hilton Head II, South Carolina
 
100

 
206,564

 
92
 
Hilton Head I, South Carolina
 
100

 
181,670

 
100
 
Terrell, Texas
 
100

 
177,800

 
97
 
Blowing Rock, North Carolina
 
100

 
104,009

 
89
 
Total
 
 
 
12,048,247

 
97

(1)
These properties or a portion thereof are subject to a ground lease.
(2)
Based on capital contribution and distribution provisions in the joint venture agreement, we expect our economic interest in the venture's cash flow to be greater than our legal ownership percentage. We currently receive substantially all the economic interest of the property.
(3)
Property encumbered by mortgage. See Notes 8 and 9 to the consolidated financial statements for further details of our debt obligations.



21




Location
 
Legal Ownership %
 
Square
Feet
 
%
Occupied
 
Unconsolidated joint venture properties
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Charlotte, North Carolina (1)
 
50

 
398,674

 
99
 
Ottawa, Ontario
 
50

 
357,218

 
97
 
Columbus, Ohio (1)
 
50

 
355,245

 
98
 
Texas City, Texas (Galveston/Houston) (1)
 
50

 
352,705

 
98
 
National Harbor, Maryland (1)
 
50

 
341,156

 
99
 
Cookstown, Ontario
 
50

 
307,779

 
100
 
Saint-Sauveur, Quebec (1)
 
50

 
99,405

 
92
 
Total
 
 
 
2,212,182

 
98
 
(1)
Property encumbered by mortgage. See Note 6, to the consolidated financial statements for further details of our joint ventures' debt obligations.

Lease Expirations

The following table sets forth, as of December 31, 2019, scheduled lease expirations for our consolidated outlet centers, assuming none of the tenants exercise renewal options:
Year
 
No. of Leases Expiring
 
Approx. Square Feet (in 000's) (1) 
 
Average Annualized Base Rent per sq. ft
 
Annualized Base Rent
   (in 000's) (2)
 
% of Annualized Base Rent Represented by Expiring Leases
2020
 
265

 
1,148

 
$
22.95

 
$
26,346

 
10
2021
 
327

 
1,542

 
24.47

 
37,734

 
14
2022
 
291

 
1,338

 
26.83

 
35,892

 
13
2023
 
227

 
1,182

 
25.80

 
30,501

 
11
2024
 
205

 
970

 
30.95

 
30,023

 
11
2025
 
270

 
1,373

 
26.98

 
37,050

 
13
2026
 
210

 
916

 
27.19

 
24,904

 
9
2027
 
137

 
670

 
26.61

 
17,828

 
7
2028
 
117

 
815

 
20.81

 
16,962

 
6
2029
 
77

 
382

 
26.87

 
10,264

 
4
2030 and after
 
31

 
307

 
20.65

 
6,341

 
2
 
 
2,157

 
10,643

 
$
25.73

 
$
273,845

 
100
(1)
Excludes leases that have been entered into but which tenant has not yet taken possession, vacant suites, space under construction, temporary leases and month-to-month leases totaling in the aggregate approximately 1.4 million square feet.
(2)
Annualized base rent is defined as the minimum monthly payments due as of December 31, 2019 annualized, excluding periodic contractual fixed increases and rents calculated based on a percentage of tenants' sales. The annualized base rent disclosed in the table above includes all concessions, abatements and reimbursements of rent to tenants.

Changes in rental income associated with individual signed leases on comparable spaces may be positive or negative, and we can provide no assurance that the rents on new leases or renewals of existing leases will increase from current levels, if at all.


22




Base Rents and Occupancy Rates

The following table sets forth our year end occupancy and average annual base rent per square foot during each of the last five calendar years for our consolidated properties:

 
 
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Occupancy
 
97
%
 
97
%
 
97
%
 
98
%
 
97
%
Average annual base rent per square foot (1)
 
$
25.35

 
$
25.51

 
$
25.81

 
$
26.10

 
$
25.19

(1)
Average annual base rent per square foot is calculated based on base rental revenues recognized during the year on a straight-line basis including non-cash adjustments to base rent required by United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP") and the effects of inducements and rent concessions.

The following table sets forth information regarding the expiring leases for our consolidated outlet centers during each of the last five calendar years:

 
 
Total Expiring
 
Renewed by Existing
Tenants
Year(1)
 
Square Feet
(in 000's)
 
% of
Total Outlet Center Square Feet (2)
 
Square Feet
(in 000's)
 
% of
Expiring Square Feet
2019
 
1,320

 
11
 
1,020

 
77
2018
 
1,742

 
13
 
1,418

 
81
2017
 
1,549

 
12
 
1,296

 
84
2016
 
1,440

 
12
 
1,223

 
85
2015
 
1,532

 
13
 
1,282

 
84
(1)
Excludes data for properties sold in each respective year.
(2)
Represents the percentage of total square footage at the beginning of each year that is scheduled to expire during the respective year.



23




The following table sets forth the weighted average rental rate increases per square foot on a straight-line basis (includes periodic, contractual fixed rent increases) for our consolidated outlet centers upon re-leasing stores that were turned over or renewed during each of the last five calendar years:
 
 
Renewals of Existing Leases
 
Stores Re-leased to New Tenants (1)
 
 
 
 
Average Annualized Base Rent
 
 
 
Average Annualized Base Rent
 
 
 
 
($ per sq. ft.)
 
 
 
($ per sq. ft.)
Year(2)
 
Square Feet
(in 000's)
 
Expiring
 
New
 
%
Increase
 
Square Feet
(in 000's)
 
Expiring
 
New
 
% Increase
2019(3)
 
1,064

 
$
31.93

 
$
31.91

 

 
460

 
$
35.88

 
$
38.93

 
9
2018(3)
 
1,398

 
$
30.12

 
$
31.65

 
5

 
431

 
$
30.63

 
$
32.40

 
6
2017(3)
 
1,261

 
$
28.21

 
$
30.65

 
9

 
413

 
$
30.46

 
$
33.24

 
9
2016(3)
 
1,187

 
$
27.44

 
$
32.26

 
18

 
384

 
$
32.15

 
$
42.84

 
33
2015
 
1,282

 
$
21.77

 
$
26.06

 
20

 
444

 
$
24.33

 
$
31.48

 
29
(1)
The square footage released to new tenants for 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015, contains 109,000, 144,000, 107,000, 93,000, and 149,000 square feet respectively, that was released to new tenants upon expiration of an existing lease during the respective year.
(2)
Excludes data for properties sold in each respective year.
(3)
Includes both minimum base rent and common area maintenance rents and excludes license agreements, temporary tenants, and month-to-month leases.

Occupancy Costs

We believe that our ratio of average tenant occupancy cost (which includes base rent, common area maintenance, real estate taxes, insurance, advertising and promotions) to average sales per square foot is low relative to other forms of retail distribution. The following table sets forth for tenants that report sales, for each of the last five calendar years, tenant occupancy costs per square foot as a percentage of reported tenant sales per square foot for our consolidated outlet centers:

Year
 
Occupancy Costs as a
% of Tenant Sales
2019
 
10.0

2018
 
9.9

2017
 
10.0

2016
 
9.9

2015
 
9.3
















24




Tenants

The following table sets forth certain information for our consolidated outlet centers with respect to our 25 largest tenants based on total annualized base rent as of December 31, 2019 (1):

Tenant
Brands
# of
Stores
 
Gross Leasable Area (GLA)
 
% of
Total GLA
 
% of Total Annualized Base Rent (2)
The Gap, Inc.
Gap, Banana Republic, Janie & Jack, Old Navy
96

 
947,819

 
7.9
%
 
5.9
%
Ascena Retail Group, Inc.
LOFT, Ann Taylor, Justice, Lane Bryant
96

 
534,084

 
4.4
%
 
4.6
%
PVH Corp.
Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, Calvin Klein
62

 
390,692

 
3.2
%
 
4.1
%
Tapestry, Inc.
Coach, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman
48

 
226,289

 
1.9
%
 
2.8
%
Under Armour, Inc.
Under Armour, Under Armour Kids
30

 
233,877

 
1.9
%
 
2.8
%
Nike, Inc.
Nike, Converse, Hurley
39

 
423,215

 
3.5
%
 
2.7
%
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie
39

 
272,104

 
2.3
%
 
2.6
%
G-III Apparel Group, Ltd.
Bass, Wilsons Leather, DKNY, Karl Lagerfeld Paris
44

 
203,734

 
1.7
%
 
2.4
%
Carter’s, Inc.
Carters, OshKosh B Gosh
51

 
224,227

 
1.9
%
 
2.2
%
Michael Kors Holdings Limited
Michael Kors, Michael Kors Men’s
28

 
136,816

 
1.1
%
 
2.0
%
Signet Jewelers Limited
Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared Vault
51

 
117,204

 
1.0
%
 
1.9
%
Hanesbrands Inc.
Hanesbrands, Maidenform, Champion
36

 
176,907

 
1.5
%
 
1.9
%
Ralph Lauren Corporation
Polo Ralph Lauren, Polo Children, Polo Ralph Lauren Big & Tall
33

 
358,736

 
3.0
%
 
1.8
%
Columbia Sportswear Company
Columbia Sportswear
19

 
148,145

 
1.2
%
 
1.8
%
Chico’s, FAS Inc.
Chicos, White House/Black Market, Soma Intimates
42

 
121,931

 
1.0
%
 
1.8
%
Adidas AG
Adidas, Reebok
28

 
172,867

 
1.4
%
 
1.7
%
Skechers USA, Inc.
Skechers
30

 
149,167

 
1.2
%
 
1.6
%
V. F. Corporation
The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Dickies
26

 
138,846

 
1.2
%
 
1.6
%
Caleres Inc.
Famous Footwear, Naturalizer, Allen Edmonds
33

 
167,841

 
1.4
%
 
1.6
%
H&M Hennes & Mauritz L.P.
H&M
19

 
407,342

 
3.4
%
 
1.5
%
L Brands, Inc.
Bath & Body Works, Pink, Victoria’s Secret
30

 
118,662

 
1.0
%
 
1.5
%
Express Inc.
Express Factory
23

 
160,730

 
1.3
%
 
1.5
%
Levis
Levis
29

 
121,486

 
1.0
%
 
1.4
%
J. Crew Group, Inc.
J. Crew, J. Crew Men’s
26

 
140,366

 
1.2
%
 
1.4
%
Rack Room Shoes, Inc.
Rack Room Shoes
22

 
129,699

 
1.0
%
 
1.4
%
Total of Top 25 tenants
 
980

 
6,222,786

 
51.6
%
 
56.5
%
(1)
Excludes leases that have been entered into but which tenant has not yet taken possession, temporary leases and month-to-month leases.
(2)
Annualized base rent is defined as the minimum monthly payments due as of the end of the reporting period annualized, excluding periodic contractual fixed increases. Includes rents which are based on a percentage of sales in lieu of fixed contractual rents.


25




Significant Property

The Deer Park, New York outlet center is the only property that comprises 10% or more of our consolidated total assets. No property comprises more than 10% of our consolidated revenues.

Tenants at the Deer Park outlet center principally conduct retail sales operations. The following table shows occupancy and certain base rental information related to this property as of December 31, 2019, 2018, and 2017:
Deer Park
 
Square Feet
 
2019
 
2018
 
2017
Outlet Center Occupancy
 
739,110

 
99
%
 
96
%
 
95
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Average base rental rates per weighted average square foot (1)
 
 
 
$
34.41

 
$
31.67

 
$
31.64

(1)
Average annual base rent per square foot is calculated based on base rental revenues recognized during the year on a straight-line basis including non-cash adjustments to base rent required by GAAP and the effects of inducements and rent concessions.

Depreciation on the outlet centers is computed on the straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of the assets. We generally use estimated lives up to 33 years for buildings, 15 years for land improvements and 7 years for equipment. Expenditures for ordinary repairs and maintenance are charged to operations as incurred while significant renovations and improvements, including tenant finishing allowances, which improve and/or extend the useful life of the asset are capitalized and depreciated over their estimated useful life. Real estate taxes assessed on this outlet center during 2019 amounted to $5.0 million. Real estate taxes for 2020 are estimated to be approximately $5.1 million.

The following table sets forth, as of December 31, 2019, scheduled lease expirations for the Deer Park outlet center assuming that none of the tenants exercise renewal options:
Year
 
No. of
Leases
Expiring (1)
 
Square Feet
(in 000's) (1)
 
Annualized
Base Rent
per Square Foot
 
Annualized
Base Rent
    (in 000's) (2)
 
% of Gross
Annualized
Base Rent
Represented
by Expiring
Leases
2020
 
10

 
34

 
$
37.21

 
$
1,265

 
5

2021
 
13

 
63

 
49.40

 
3,112

 
13

2022
 
7

 
23

 
43.65

 
1,004

 
4

2023
 
12

 
111

 
26.04

 
2,890

 
12

2024
 
14

 
137

 
35.30

 
4,836

 
20

2025
 
6

 
26

 
22.85

 
594

 
3

2026
 
7

 
22