April 9, 2018 / 1:49 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Rent-A-Center expects decision on buyout bids by second quarter

(Adds preliminary sales details, shares)

April 9 (Reuters) - Rent-A-Center Inc said on Monday it expects to reach a decision by the second quarter on whether its talks with bidders would result in a sale of the rent-to-own furniture retailer.

The company, which has been under pressure from its shareholders Engaged Capital and Marcato Capital to sell itself, has previously rejected buyout offers.

Rent-A-Center said it expects same-store sales in the U.S. to rise 0.3 percent for the first quarter, driven by higher rent collections due to lower promotional activity.

The company's comparable-store sales have not risen in the past two years, but are now expected to rise 0.9 percent in the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Plano, Texas-based company also said that it has exceeded its cost-saving expectations, helping it reduce debt by over $75 million.

Shares of the company, which has lost 75 percent of its value since the start of 2015, were up 3.2 percent at $9.83 in early trading on Monday.

The company has a market value of about $510 million, as of Friday's close. (Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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