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Michael Knell

Rent-A-Center to convert its Canadian stores to franchises

PLANO, Texas — Rent-A-Center has announced it will sell off its remaining 18 locations in Canada, converting them into franchises that will be run by its ColorTyme subsidiary.

In early January, Rent-A-Center closed a deal that saw it swap 15 of its Canadian stores to Easyhome for 15 of that company's corporately owned stores in New York State. Easyhome then announced that would only operate franchises in the United States.

At the time, Mark Speese, RAC's chairman and CEO, said the company intended to focus its international expansion plans on other countries including Mexico - where it owned 90 stores at the end of 2012 and intends to open more this year.

The 18 remaining Canadian RAC outlets are in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, including four outlets in the greater Toronto area. In a statement, the company said once sold, the Canadian franchises will continue to operate under the Rent-A-Centre (as it's spelled in Canada) banner.

ColorTyme has long been a U.S. franchisor of independently owned and operated rent-to-own stores, but taking over RAC's Canadian operation will mark its first international expansion.

"With ColorTyme's over 34 years of franchising experience and continued success, the expansion into Canada is a logical and momentous step for the company," ColorTyme CEO Cathy Skula said in a statement. "We feel that we are well suited to launch this endeavor, and look forward to growing the Rent-A-Centre brand in Canada."

Rent-A-Center said it will be looking for either one or several master franchisees to purchase the existing locations, with plans to develop additional stores throughout the country.

A longtime member of the International Franchise Assn., ColorTyme will exhibit at the Canadian Franchise Assn. at the Toronto Congress Centre, Feb. 23 and 24.

Interested investors can learn about franchising with Rent-A-Centre on its website, www.rentacentre.ca, or can contact Michael Landry, vice president of franchising, at (972) 403-4905 or by email at Michael.Landry@rentacentre.ca.

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