Farpost earnings on the Internet
At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. Thank you, Mr. Hoglund, you may now begin. I expect most people on this call are working from home and spending more time at home, in general, and you may have found the need to clear out some space for your home office, or if you're like me, your spouse has made you clean out the garage.
Earnings Review: Behind the Numbers
I just want to remind you that self-storage is available to help you optimize your space needs. With that, we'd like to thank you for joining us today for the first quarter earnings conference call of National Storage Affiliates Trust. In addition to the press release distributed farpost earnings on the Internet, we filed an 8-K with the SEC containing our supplemental package with additional detail on our results and out Q, which may be found in the Investor Relations section on our website at nationalstorageaffiliates.
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On today's call, management's prepared remarks and answers to your questions may contain forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, including uncertainty related to the scope, severity and duration of the COVID pandemic and the actions taken to contain or mitigate the direct and indirect economic impact.
The company cautions that actual results may differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statement. For additional detail concerning our forward-looking statements, please refer to our public filings with the SEC.
Sachin Mehra July 30, Earlier today, we reported our Q2 financial results. Strong words for a finance guy, I realize.
We also encourage listeners to review the definitions and reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures, such as FFO, core FFO and net operating income contained in the supplemental information package available in the Investor Relations section on our website and in our SEC filings. Following prepared remarks, management will accept questions from registered financial analysts. I will now turn the call over to Tammy. First, I'd like to acknowledge and thank our PROs and our many team members, who've demonstrated their commitment and resilience in response to the demands of the novel COVID induced crisis, which brings with it both health and economic related dimensions.
National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA) Q1 2020 Earnings Call Transcript
I'd also like to formally welcome Dave Kramer, our new COO, to participation in his first earnings call. So welcome, Dave.
You really picked a great time to start. By the way, as many of you know, while Dave is technically new to our NSA corporate team, he has decades of experience in self-storage, most recently as CEO of SecurCare.
Now, let me comment on the current environment and our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Health and safety of our employees and customers is our top priority. We've been actively addressing the rapidly changing environment and impact on our business, driven by the pandemic.
All of our stores are open and operating in a modified manner for safety, including using safe -- face masks, protective barriers and social distancing protocols. All properties have farpost earnings on the Internet options, and we have halted rent increases and suspended auctions for the time being. We were very pleased that the year was off to a strong start, but the environment clearly began to change mid-March, as the pandemic gained momentum and stay-at-home orders started the spread across the country.
The dramatic economic slowdown that ensued has led to unprecedented job losses, and although self-storage has historically proven recession resistant, it is not recession-proof.
The stay-at-home orders and rapid job losses have weighed heavily on our move in volumes. Walk-in traffic during the height of the stay-at-home orders was all but eliminated.
Of course, move-out volumes have declined significantly as well. Overall, this situation is still very dynamic, and given that we have limited visibility into the ultimate depth and breadth of these negative forces, we made the decision to withdraw our guidance at this time.
We will revisit this decision each quarter as the year progresses. In spite of the significant challenges currently facing the economy, we remain bullish on the self-storage industry, generally, and NSA specifically.
In particular, we believe the industry is better positioned operationally today than we were at the time of the great financial crisis, given the advances in internet marketing and sophisticated revenue management platforms that provide large operators advantages in capturing and how to make money video training market share.
We also think that NSA is well positioned relative to our peers, given the downside protection inherent in our unique PRO structure, our greater secondary and tertiary market exposure and essentially no lease-up exposure. The acquisition environment has slowed significantly with fewer deals in the market and frankly, many buyers hitting the pause button for now.
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Our intention is to remain disciplined and strategic in our acquisition efforts, with the objective of investing when and where it makes sense for us for the long term. We talked then, as we have many times since, about the strength and the benefits of our differentiated PRO structure, which aligns the interests of some of the most successful private operators in self-storage, with the interest of all of our stakeholders.
We believe we've demonstrated the benefits of our differentiated structure. And as we enter this recession, the downside protection inherent in our structure will facilitate continued out-performance.
I'll now turn the call over to Brandon to discuss operating results and balance sheet activity.
This growth was fueled by a combination of healthy same-store NOI performance and strong acquisition volume. For the first quarter, same-store NOI increased by 3. Same-store average occupancy was strong during the first two months, but ended the first quarter down by an average of 30 basis points to Same-store opex growth for the quarter benefited from a handful of favorable property tax assessments and appeals, which drove a 1. Utilities expense declined 6.