Macerich Co. said Thursday it is delaying filing its financial report for 2004 to evaluate its lease accounting practices.

The Santa Monica-based real estate investment trust said the delay gives the company time to evaluate whether any changes are needed to its current accounting practices related to the initial timing of recognition of straight-lined rent.

The review is expected to be completed and the Form 10-K filed by March 31.

A number of L.A. companies, including 99 Cents Only Stores Inc. and California Pizza Kitchen Inc., have had to change their lease and leasehold accounting methods recently. The changes come in the wake of comments by Donald T. Nicolaisen, chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission, in a Feb. 7 letter to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants expressing concern about how companies are accounting for discounted rents, the amortization of rent payments and lessee-funded operating lease incentives.

Shares of Macerich were up 0.8 percent to $57.10 in early afternoon trading.

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