Rent-A-Center Shares Tank On Sales, Profit Warning

By Claudia Assis Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Rent-A-Center Inc. fell more than 16% late Wednesday after the rent-to-own retailer said it expects lower fourth-quarter sales and per-share losses. Quarterly sales are expected to be down about 14%, the Plano, Texas, company said in a statement. Per-share losses are seen between 20 cents a share and 30 cents a share in the quarter, it said. Rent-A-Center has not completed its financial statement reporting process, it said. "The fourth quarter proved to be more challenging than expected," interim CEO Mark E. Speese said. Its portfolio increased sequentially, as it typically does during the quarter, but the company was heavily promotional, impacting the period, he said. Rent-A-Center is expected to report full quarterly results Feb. 13. Shares of Rent-A-Center ended the regular trading day up 1.4%, in contrast with gains of 0.2% for the S&P 500 index.

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