Shopping mall owner Macerich Co. reported a 17 percent growth in its funds from operations in the fourth quarter, but the company still slightly missed Wall Street earnings expectations.

The Santa Monica real estate investment trust said its FFO, a performance measure for REITs that removes the profit-reducing effect of depreciation, was nearly $109 million (77 cents). Analysts on average had expected 78 cents. A year earlier, when the Macerich had fewer outstanding shares, its FFO was $92.7 million, but on a per share basis it was higher at 90 cents.

Net income was $23.5 million (18 cents), compared with a loss of $14.4 million (-18 cents) last year. Revenue rose 2 percent to nearly $204 million.

Occupancy during the quarter rose from 91.3 percent to 93.1 percent. Sales at its tenants’ stores rose 5 percent. "The fundamentals of our business continue to improve,” said Chief Executive Arthur Coppola in a statement.

Macerich owns or has interest in 71 malls nationwide, including the newly renovated Santa Monica Place, Westside Pavilion and several other local malls.

Shares were up 48 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $49.27 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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