The biggest retail news story right now is, naturally, the 2012 holiday shopping season results. In November and December, national retail sales and foot traffic each increased 2.5 percent compared to the same two months last year, according to ShopperTrak.

Kimco has been discussing this story, as well as many others over the past quarter, in national and local media outlets. Here’s a roundup of some of our most notable Q4 news to bring you up to date on the issues and trends that are top of mind for us.

David Henry gives holiday shopping analysis on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”

Kimco CEO David Henry appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” a few weeks ago to discuss early-stage holiday shopping results. He noted how performance has been mixed. There were strong sales during back-to-school, Thanksgiving weekend, and the two extra shopping days this Christmas season. But sales were tempered by Hurricane Sandy and the fiscal cliff, which diminished consumer confidence.

Dave also noted that while preliminary holiday sales numbers seemed soft, up to 15 percent of yearly sales could come in the final shopping week of the year, making it too early to draw conclusions. Dave said sales growth of 2 to 4 percent for the year would be a positive sign. Dave covered more details in his interview, which you can watch on CNBC’s website in case you missed it.

“Barbell” retailers are the industry’s heavyweights

We’re continuing to see how “barbell” retailers -- low-end and high-end retailers -- are experiencing some of the strongest sales in the industry. As mentioned in an earlier post, David Henry appeared on FOX Business’ “Countdown to the Closing Bell” to discuss the barbell retailer trend in relation to the holiday shopping season. For the full interview, including highlights of Kimco’s diversification in its portfolio, watch the FOX Business video.

Kimco’s portfolio recycling program moves forward

We’ve also appeared in the news frequently discussing Kimco’s portfolio recycling program. In October, we announced the divestiture of several nonstrategic assets and acquisition of high-quality retail properties. These include the sale of 23 non-core retail properties for $165 million and acquiring a total of 581,000 square feet since Q2 2012 (covered, for instance, by MSN Money).

One important acquisition was the purchase of City Heights Retail Center in San Diego for $36.5 million, which the San Diego Business Journal featured. In November, David Henry made a guest appearance on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money to discuss Kimco’s Q4 acquisitions and noted that less than 3 percent of total assets were now made up of non-core assets.

Positioning Kimco for a strong 2013

David Henry also participated in a retail REIT round table for National Real Estate Investor, where he discussed the company’s 2013 strategy. This includes remaining committed to the ownership and management of community and neighborhood shopping centers, selling off additional non-strategic centers, finding value creation through redevelopment of existing properties, and striving to maintain a strong balance sheet.

Finally, in a video for’s CEO Spotlight series, David Henry noted that Kimco will be operating with “cautious optimism,” and stated how we’re seeing positive momentum around consumer spending. You can hit any of these articles for more details.

Incoming retailer interest

We’ve generated new opportunities to drive retailer interest in the fourth quarter. In the beginning of December, Kimco’s sketch plan for Wilde Lake Center in Columbia, Md., was approved, and the news was covered in The Baltimore Sun. Kimco is currently in the process of submitting a detailed development plan. This mixed-use property is planned to have a minimum of 85,000 square feet of retail space and 250 residential units.

Excitement is also building in our Cupertino, Calif., market. Conor Flynn, Kimco’s President of the Western Region, spoke with The Wall Street Journal about Apple’s proposed campus in Cupertino, directly across the street from our Cupertino Village shopping center. He revealed that after the new campus was announced, he received a barrage of calls from high-end retailers and interested hotel owners looking to capitalize on business travelers coming to the area.

New leases and grand openings

To round everything out, we wanted to recap some of the exciting leases we’ve signed over the past quarter that have garnered media attention. Puget Sound Business Journal covered how Nordstrom Rack is adding another location to the Kimco portfolio as part of its aggressive expansion program -- a topic also featured in The Wall Street Journal. The retailer is planning to open a 10,750-square-foot location in our Columbia Crossing shopping center in Maryland, and a 32,000-square-foot location in our Manhasset Center in New York, which Newsday highlighted.

And in New Hampshire, The Telegraph covered the opening of Trader Joe’s in our Webster Square shopping plaza, marking the first Trader Joe’s in the state. The retailer will soon be joined by Ulta Beauty, T.J. Maxx, and two fast casual restaurants, all due to open early 2013.

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