Syms — the family-controlled bargain clothing retailer with a massive and massively ugly white department store on Trinity Place — admitted to shareholders that it earns more from its real estate holdings than from its clothing sales, yet Marcy Syms, the CEO, continues to insist the company is not a REIT.
Ms. Syms said that the company earned $2 million last year in rent from its property holdings nationwide, yet only a meager $807,000 in net revenue from clothing sales, according to an item in today’s Wall Street Journal.
As The Observer reported last week, many shareholders suspect the Syms family, which still owns 57 percent of the company stock, of trying to take the company private again, so it can reap more of the dividends from its growing real estate empire — which includes a growing assemblage of air rights and properties around its store in the Financial District.
Real estate experts estimate the assemblage is worth a good $70 million.
“Syms is not really a clothing company,” Tom Kahn, a prominent investor, told me. “It’s a REIT [real estate investment trust] masquerading as a clothing company. If you look at the profits from the stores, they’re minimal.”
Today is the firm’s annual meeting. Experts expect the family-controlled board of directors to be reelected, despite recommendations from proxy advisers that shareholders vote against the five directors.
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