Rent-A-Center and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Pledge to Reunite Missing Children With Their Families

May 10, 2000 at 12:00 AM EDT

PLANO, Texas, May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Rent-A-Center, Inc. (Nasdaq: RCII - news), the largest rent-to-own retailer in the country, has launched an alliance with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to bring missing children home. Through the alliance with NCMEC, Rent-A-Center will make customers aware of missing children, by placing pictures of them on the Company's direct mail brochures, helping customers to notify authorities if they recognize a child.

In May, Rent-A-Center will launch the awareness campaign in their monthly national advertising brochure, distributed to over 50 million households a month. On the outside cover of the monthly advertisement, Rent-A-Center will feature a different child in seven regions around the country and Puerto Rico, to assist the NCMEC in locating missing children. This program is being launched in May to help bring awareness to National Missing Children's Day, May 25th.

Ernie Allen, President of NCMEC expressed his gratitude to Rent-A-Center for the launch of their new program. ``We are confident that the 50 million inserts with missing child photos will allow many families to be reunited as a result. The quantity which Rent-A-Center is producing on a monthly basis is one of the largest attempts by companies assisting the NCMEC.''

The FBI estimates that in 1999 approximately 750,000 missing child cases were serious enough for a parent to call the police. Today, one out of every six children are recovered as a direct result of someone seeing the child's picture and reporting the whereabouts to the National Center.

``We felt the need to leverage our print buying power with our commitment to the community. With the number of printed brochures going into customers' homes every month, we hope that we will be able to make a difference in a child's life. Nothing is more important than that,'' stated Ernie Talley, CEO and founder of Rent-A-Center.

In the future, Rent-A-Center hopes to increase its involvement with assisting NCMEC towards drawing awareness to missing children. For example, Rent-A-Center intends to incorporate pictures of missing children on its web site, which the Company intends to launch in conjunction with its new ISP this June.

Rent-A-Center, headquartered in Plano, Texas, currently operates 2,079 company-owned rent-to-own stores in 49 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. The stores offer high-quality, durable goods such as home electronics, appliances, computers, and furniture and accessories to consumers under flexible rental purchase agreements that allow the customer to obtain ownership of the merchandise at the conclusion of an agreed-upon rental period. ColorTyme, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, is a national franchisor of 362 rent-to-own stores, 334 of which operate under the trade name of ``ColorTyme,'' and the remaining 28 of which operate under the ``Rent-A-Center'' name.