Rent-A-Center Gets Burned on Preliminary Q3 Results

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Rent-A-Center Inc. (NASDAQ: RCII) saw its shares take a dive early on Tuesday after the company gave a preliminary report on selected third-quarter financial information. Keep in mind that this information is unaudited and potentially subject to change, but at a first glance the data appear to be damning.

The company estimates core U.S. same-store sales for the three months ended September 30 to be down roughly 12%, and Acceptance Now same-store sales to be essentially flat.

Core U.S. gross profit, as a percentage of total revenue, is estimated to be flat compared to the third quarter of last year as ongoing benefits from the changes made to the company’s sourcing model were offset by a third-quarter clearance event focused on previously rented product.

On the bottom line, earnings per share (EPS) for the third quarter 2016 on both a GAAP basis and excluding special items are expected to be in the range of $0.05 to $0.15. Thomson Reuters consensus estimates call for $0.39 in EPS for the quarter.

Robert D. Davis, CEO of Rent-A-Center, commented:

Following the implementation of our new point-of-sale system, we experienced system performance issues and outages that resulted in a larger than expected negative impact on Core sales. While we expect it to take several quarters to fully recover from the impact to the Core portfolio, system performance has improved dramatically and we have started to see early indicators of collections improvement.
Looking ahead, the company will release its full third quarter financial results on October 26.

Excluding Tuesday’s move, Rent-A-Center has underperformed the broad markets, with the stock down 12% year to date. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is actually down 47%.

Shares of Rent-A-Center were down 30% at $9.06, with a consensus analyst price target of $16.33 and a 52-week trading range of $8.00 to $26.26.

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