Kimco reported its third-quarter earnings last week and the numbers tell a compelling story. Not only did we continue to deliver strong financial and operating results, but we moved closer to becoming a pure-play North American retail real estate investment company with a portfolio built for long-term stability and growth.

First, the numbers: Recurring FFO increased 6.5 percent; U.S. same-site NOI grew for the 14th consecutive quarter; and U.S. occupancy was up 50 basis points from the beginning of the year to 94.4 percent, while leasing spreads were a positive 7.3 percent. Our continued forward momentum led us to raise our full-year guidance and increase our quarterly cash dividend by 7.1 percent. For more details, see our earnings release.

Now, the story: We accomplished all of this through increased leasing activity, growing rents, strong demand from retailers in search of ever-scarcer high-quality retail space, rising populations, and industry-wide NOI growth at a post-recession high.

Kimco is strongly positioned to capitalize on these marketplace trends, having worked hard over the last three years to transform its portfolio for even greater growth and value. That process continues, as we actively look to exit properties that no longer meet our long-term strategic criteria, redevelop our strongly situated centers to attract more retailers, and make selective acquisitions in the fastest-growing markets in the U.S., where barriers to entry are high.

During the quarter, and just after it, we bought two properties in the greater Denver market, one in the New York market, and another in the Atlanta market with a combined total of more than 400,000 square feet of retail space. We also announced an agreement last month to acquire a 24-property, 1.4-million-square-foot retail portfolio, located principally in the greater Boston market, that offers significant upside from below-market leases and redevelopment potential. Additional detail can be found in an article on

On the disposition side, we sold 12 more U.S. properties since the middle of the year, and have contracts to sell 14 more. But the biggest shift is in Latin America, where we have sold 24 shopping centers and 84 industrial buildings for a gross price of more than $1 billion over the past two quarters. We also expect to sell our remaining seven properties in South America by year-end, and we’re actively negotiating the sale of 27 additional shopping centers in Mexico. We expect to complete the sale of most of our remaining assets in Mexico by early next year.

We’re reinvesting the proceeds of these sales in our core U.S. markets, through both acquisitions and our $800 million redevelopment program, which will make our high-quality properties even better, while earning us double-digit returns. One example is the full makeover and expansion of our grocery-anchored shopping center in Cupertino, Calif., across the street from the future Apple 2 headquarters where 12,000 employees will work each day.

To put our massive transformation in perspective, here’s a comparison we like to make to show how our portfolio continues to gain in strength and value:

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* Within a three-mile radius

Bolstered by our tremendous success to date, we are excited by our growth prospects as we continue to reshape, redevelop, and rethink the future of Kimco as a pure-play North American retail real estate investment company.

We invite you to listen to a replay of our investor call for more information, which will be available through Dec. 2, 2013. A taped presentation of the call can also be accessed through 9 a.m. EST, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 by dialing 1-877-344-7529 (passcode: 10033244).