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From Home Furnishing Business

Rent-A-Center Reports Steep Drop in Same-Store Sales

Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ: RCII), the nation’s largest operator of rent-to-own stores, said same-store sales at its core U.S. stores tumbled 14% in the fourth quarter as the company continued to experience problems related to last year’s installation of a new point-of-sale system.

In a preliminary financial report issued Wednesday, the company said it expects to report a net loss of 20 cents to 30 cents per share for the quarter.

The company reported a 12% same-store sales decline in the third quarter, but had earnings of 12 cents per share. In last year’s fourth quarter, Rent-A-Center had earnings of 54 cents per share, excluding a non-cash impairment charge.

“The fourth quarter proved to be more challenging than expected,” said Mark E. Speese, interim CEO. “In our core Rent-A-Center stores, recovery from the POS system issues in recapturing the rental portfolio lost during prior periods and account management improvement did not happen as quickly as planned. While the portfolio increased sequentially, as it typically does during the period, the company was heavily promotional, which also impacted the quarter.”

Speese, who also is chairman of the company, took over as interim CEO on Jan. 9 when Robert Davis resigned.

The company said it will release complete financial results for the fourth quarter on Feb. 13.



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