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Rent-A-Center adopts poison pill

BY Marianne Wilson

Rent-A-Center Inc. has taken action to reduce the likelihood that an investor gains unsolicited control of the company.

The nation's largest rent-to-own operator has adopted a stockholder rights plan, or a so-called poison pill, that would become exercisable if a group buys 15% or more of its outstanding shares.

The move comes a month after activist investor Engaged Capital LLC, which owns a 12.9% stake in the company, stepped up efforts to push the furniture retailer, which has been struggling with slumping sales, to sell itself.

“The Rights Plan is also designed to protect Rent-A-Center stockholders by reducing the likelihood that any person or group would gain control of the company through open market accumulation without appropriately compensating its stockholders for such control or providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgments,” Rent-A-Center stated.

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Ergieshovel rolls out a full product line

BY HBSDealer Staff

Ergieshovel LLC has come up with a full line of long-handled tools to complement its initial offering, the flagship Ergieshovel snow shovel launched in December 2015.

The suite of products, called Ergiesystems, features the same technology as the shovel: a patented second arm that comes up from the shaft and allows users to shovel without bending over.

The collection includes straight and pointed dirt shovels, grain shovels, a variety of leaf rakes, utility brooms, as well as gardening and contractor tools. 

“The overwhelming success of our Ergieshovel snow shovel showed us the demand for ergonomically designed tools that make working easier on the lower back," said Nabil Hannoush, Ergieshovel president. "We are hearing success stories from our retailers across the country. Store managers have told us customers are grabbing the shovels before they have a chance to unwrap the displays. Customers are writing to us saying that they have finally found a product that helps them continue to shovel even after having recovered from back surgery.”

“The new products should hit store shelves beginning late spring," executive VP of sales Barry Wadsworth added. "We have had great response at recent hardware shows and hope to fill the orders as fast as we can ship.”  

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Consumer confidence bumps up to a 16-year high

BY HBSDealer Staff

Having reached a 15-year peak on February, consumer confidence reached a new peak in March, now standing at its highest level in 16 years.

 
The index's current reading is 125.6, up from 116.1 in February.
 
“Consumer confidence increased sharply in March to its highest level since December 2000 (Index, 128.6),” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. 
 
“Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved considerably," she added. "Consumers also expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects. Thus, consumers feel current economic conditions have improved over the recent period, and their renewed optimism suggests the possibility of some upside to the prospects for economic growth in the coming months.”  
 
The Present Situation Index also rose from 134.4 to 143.1. The percentage saying business conditions are “good” increased from 28.3% to 32.2%, while those saying business conditions are “bad” decreased from 13.4% to 12.9%. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” rose from 26.9% to 31.7%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased moderately, from 19.9% to 19.5%.
 
The Expectations Index reflected a positive change in near-term expectations as well, rising from 103.9 to 113.8.

 
The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 23.9% to 27.1%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 10.5% to 8.4%.
 
Meanwhile, the proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 20.9% to 24.8%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 13.6% to 12.2%. The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase improved from 19.2% to 21.5%, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 8.1% to 7.0%.

 

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