Grocery-anchored shopping center REIT Heritage Property Investment Trust Inc. reported third-quarter earnings today of $27.2 million, or $0.65 per diluted share, in the first full quarter since it went public in April.

Boston-based Heritage, which owns more than 25 million sq. ft. of retail space in 26 states, also reported net income attributable to common shareholders of $11.7 million, or $0.28 per diluted share. The firm has assets of roughly $2.2 billion.

"We are pleased with our third-quarter results," says Thomas Prendergast, president and CEO. "Our third quarter continued to demonstrate that grocery-anchored shopping centers with their focus on non-discretionary expenditures continue to perform well in a difficult economic climate."

As of Sept. 30, Heritage’s portfolio was 93.1% leased. The firm completed a total of 206 leases, both new and renewed, during the third quarter.

The same-property net income on properties owned and operated by the firm increased 4% between Sept. 30, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2002. Heritage completed the sale of its only ground-up development during the third quarter. The $5.7 million sale resulted in a net gain of $1.6 million.

On the ratings side, Standard & Poor’s raised Heritage’s corporate credit rating to BBB- from BB+ with a stable outlook. Six days after that, Moody’s raised Heritage’s corporate credit rating to Baaa3 from Ba2 with a stable outlook.

In April, Heritage raised about $450 million on the day it went public, selling 18 million shares. It was the first REIT to go public in three years.