Tanger Factory Outlet Centers (SKT -1.20%) was making great progress in its business prior to the onset of the pandemic. The real estate investment trust (REIT), which focuses on open-air upscale outlet shopping centers, was initially hit hard by the retail closures. The company came roaring back, leaving some investors to wonder if Tanger is still a buy.
On this clip from Motley Fool Live, recorded on Feb. 1, "The Wrap" host Jason Hall talks about the REIT and why it's well positioned for future growth.
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Jason Hall: Allan Fillmore asking about Tanger Factory Outlets, ticker SKT. This is a real estate investment trust. It's one that I have been really, really big on pretty much all of last year and even before the coronavirus crash. Tanger Factory Outlets owns premium factory outlet retail real estate and then they lease it to retailers.
The company struggled for a number of years, pre-coronavirus because of all of the things that have been going on with physical retail over the past few years and the struggles and the "death of the mall," so to speak.
The company spent a number of years rightsizing its portfolio, selling off underperforming assets, trying to work on it's balance sheet. Really most of 2019 was pretty decent for the company, it had done a lot to improve its business and its assets were more or less what it wanted and then of course, the coronavirus crash happens and the company spends most of the second quarter with a lot of its stores closed, all of its properties closed, then was able to open really quickly and get back to going, and reported really quickly that it's rents were coming in. They had very few customers that were asking for forbearance or asking for deferrals and a big part of that is because of its operating model.
These are outdoor properties, for the most part. People feel much more comfortable going to an outdoor mall than an indoor mall. Again, they're outlets so there's the discounter aspect of it. People want a good deal. Demographically, they're generally in pretty affluent areas so they tend to attract people that frankly, haven't lost their jobs. They have been able to continue to work.
I need to go back and look but it seems like the company reimplemented a dividend. As real estate investment trust, it has to pay out at least 90% of its GAAP [Generally accepted accounting principles] net income and dividends to investors. I think because they returned to positive results pretty quickly, they've had to at least get back to that minimum standard.
I think the company is still undervalued probably. It's certainly a reasonable value and I think it's probably undervalued because I think as we continue to move more and more toward a recovery and more and more toward normal, whatever normal looks like in six months or a year or two years, this is the kind of retail that's going to continue to thrive.
Regional malls and malls that rely on these really big box traffic driving anchor tenants are going to continue to struggle in a lot of places but Tanger's properties are pretty uniform in size for the most part. It makes them easier to repurpose.
They're more attractive because they drive traffic. These are really high volume places. They've already looked at ways to add more experiential things. Those are all things that are going to drive more traffic and are resistant to e-commerce and also a lot of companies are figuring out really good omni-channel strategy meaning you have your e-commerce footprint, you have your retail that's wholesale.
You're wholesaling it to a third-party retailer and then you have your brick-and-mortar retail that you own and operate yourself. Having that omni-channel strategy, there's no doubt that Tanger is important for a lot of retailers as they figure that out. I continue to love the business and I think it's worth buying at these prices.