FINANCE

Rent-A-Center Q2 earnings fall 58%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – Net earnings at Rent-A-Center Inc. fell 58% year-over-year in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, to $17.5 million from $41.9 million. Costs related to pretax restructuring and the consolidation of 150 stores into core U.S. stores helped reduce total net earnings.

Total revenues were $773.2 million, an increase of 2% million from total revenues of $760.5 million for the same period in the prior year. Improved revenues in Rent-A-Center’s Acceptance Now and Mexico segments, partially offset by decreased revenues in its core U.S. segment, drove the increase. Same-store sales rose 0.6%.

Rent-A-Center said second quarter performance did not meet expectations, resulting in reduced guidance for third quarter and full fiscal year revenue and profit. The company is launching a new smartphone product with a no-contract airtime plan to help improve performance.

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REAL ESTATE

Sears Outlet Stores expands Kansas City center

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hoffman Estates, Ill. – Sears Outlet Stores has leased a 354,000-sq.-ft. former Sears location in Kansas City, expanding outlet store operations and services and developing a new central distribution center for the South-Central region. This new repair and distribution center is expected to create nearly 160 new jobs to be filled by Kansas City locals.

In addition to the development of this new distribution center, Sears Outlet Stores has invested in updating and remodeling both its retail location and the building’s exterior. The retail space in this location has expanded more than 50%.

The retail store, which now has more than 27,000-sq.-ft. of retail selling space, has also expanded its assortment of merchandise, bringing in new categories like apparel and furniture. Sears expects to have the project complete by early this fall.

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OPERATIONS

Stage Stores taps Action Services Group for lighting, electrical maintenance

BY Dan Berthiaume

Aston, Pa. – Actions Services Group, a national lighting maintenance, sign maintenance and electrical services company, has signed an agreement with Stage Stores for interior lighting maintenance and electrical services for three of its retail brands. The three retail brands include Bealls, Goody’s and Peebles with store locations across the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The on-demand lighting services provided by Action Services Group include handling all interior lighting maintenance and electrical services. The services include a ballast replacement program involving the capturing of individual store lighting asset-data and inventorying of lighting components, via Action Services Group’s enterprise management system, ServicePoint Solutions. The ballast replacement program will eliminate store management’s time in supervising inventory as well as reduce return service trip-charges due to previous lack of store lighting-component inventory on hand at time of services.

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