What happened 

Shares of real estate investment trust (REIT) stock Simon Property Group (NYSE:SPG) jumped 13.1% in the first four trading days of the week, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, driven by a strong earnings report. 

So what 

The performance of this mall owner has been simply outstanding coming out of the pandemic. In the third quarter of 2021, net income jumped from $145.9 million a year ago to $679.9 million, or $2.07 per share. Funds from operations were $1.18 billion, or $3.13 per share, up 52.7% from a year ago. 

Person shopping at a mall.

Image source: Getty Images.

Occupancy at malls and premium outlets was 92.8% and the base minimum rent was $53.91 per square foot. For perspective, in the third quarter of 2019 occupancy was 94.7% and base minimum rent was $54.55 per square foot, so performance is back to near pre-pandemic levels.

With any REIT, the dividend payout is watched closely and management increased the dividend to $1.50 per share for the quarter, a 15.4% increase over a year ago and a 7.1% sequential increase. 

Now what 

Despite the risk that malls would be one of the places hurt most during the pandemic, companies like Simon Property Group have come through nearly unscathed and are now thriving. I don't see any reason to think this momentum won't continue and with shares now trading for an implied yield of 3.6% it's a strong dividend in today's environment. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.