If the attic or garage are packed, Public Storage can help. The real estate investment trust (REIT), is one of the largest self-storage companies in the US. It operates more than 2,000 storage facilities comprising some 130 million sq. ft. of storage space in the US and another 189 facilities in Europe (through its Shurgard Europe affiliate). The firm's self-storage properties, located in densely populated areas, generate some 90% of the company's sales. Public Storage, which was founded in 1980, also rents trucks, and sells moving supplies such as locks, boxes, and packing supplies. It also owns 42% of publicly traded PS Business Parks, an office building REIT.
The company's self-storage business has proven to be rather resilient during the economic recession. High unemployment, reduced housing sales, lower moving activity, and business failures, led to a dip in sales and revenues from 2008 to 2010. However, Public Storage managed to deal with the challenging market by lowering rental rates and promoting new discounts in order to attract new customers. By 2010 revenues stabilized and remained rather flat compared to 2009. Higher occupancy rates and more favorable pricing in the US helped Public Storage post good earnings in 2011. That year the company experienced a 7% increase in sales and profit was up by 22%.
Public Storage held off on making many new acquisitions during the recession and it curtailed its real estate development activities. However, in 2010 and 2011 the company began buying properties once again. In those two years Public Storage bought more than 50 new properties mostly in California but also in Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, New Jersey, Ohio, and Louisiana.
In Europe Public Storage owns 49% of Shurgard Europe. In 2011 Shurgard Europe acquired the remaining 80% interest it already didn't own in two joint ventures. The deal gave Shurgard full ownership in 72 self-storage facilities in seven countries. While the company expected big opportunities for growth in the European self-storage industry, prospects for growth were stunted in 2011 as the continent struggled with an economic downturn.
Former chairman and co-founder Wayne Hughes and his family own about 16% of Public Storage. The Hughes family also operates some 50 self-storage facilities in Canada under the Public Storage name, which is licensed from the company.
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