September 14, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Findings point to changing consumer behavior

The number of Australians choosing to rent essential domestic equipment is on the rise as household appliances rental company, Radio Rentals (trading as Rentlo in South Australia), has revealed.

Figures unveiled in parent company The Thorn Group's year-end results show that the number of people renting Radio Rentals washing machines and refrigerators increased by 10 per cent on the previous year and rentals on home furnishings including sofas and beds increased by 36 per cent. These increases point to a step-change in consumer behavior and a move away from traditional debt-financed purchasing methods.

Radio Rentals' findings, including strong year on year customer growth, support suggestions that the tough economic conditions of recent years are having an impact on consumer spending and people are turning to rental agreements in order to gain flexibility and avoid over-committing themselves in debt. However, keeping up to speed with the latest technology and not compromising on life's essentials remains a priority.

James Marshall, General Manager, Radio Rentals & Rentlo, comments: "Our year end results offer proof that the rental market is in good health and with the added strength of our Rent, Try, $1 Buy offering, customers can see that rental is no longer dead money and a genuine alternative to traditional debt financed hire-purchase agreements.

"We're delighted to have reported record growth in what has been a period of generally soft retail trading conditions. We are also very pleased to offer a wider range of household appliances and furnishings more accessible to everyday Australians, particularly those who may not have always had it easy."

And this rental contract is one with a difference. While there are a number of rental companies in the market, only Radio Rentals gives customers who have been renting for a period of 36 months the opportunity to negotiate a buyout price of $1 for their appliance, or one of a similar age, dimension and design.

Marshall also believes renting is becoming a preference for not only those who are immediately cash or credit constrained, but also those who seek the peace of mind that comes with free service for the life of the rental.

He continues: "Faulty appliances can be inconvenient and expensive to repair, the fear of another breakdown and the financial repercussions can be pretty daunting for some people. With Radio Rentals our customers can be assured that if the product has any issues, it will be repaired or replaced promptly at no cost to themselves."

While many Australians continue to seek the latest in computer and flat panel television technology by renting sales figures for these products were also up Radio Rentals maintains a strict responsible renting policy.

"We're famous for our 'No Knock Back' guarantee and our 'Your Credit History is History' campaigns, which give customers the ability to access the products they need, regardless of their past. However, this is also strongly underpinned by our Responsible Renting Policy, which ensures we don't let anyone get in over their head when renting from us. We have flexible rental agreements to suit any budget, lifestyle or need," says Marshall.

About Radio Rentals
Established in 1937, Radio Rentals is Australia's largest household appliance rental company operating from 75 stores and employing more than 500 members of staff. In South Australia the company trades as Rentlo, a new and growing arm of the business which currently comprises six stores. Radio Rentals' extensive range of electrical and household products includes flat panel TVs, PCs, whitegoods such as fridges and washing machines, computers, furniture and gym equipment.

In order to make essential household items accessible to consumers, Radio Rentals provides a range of flexible rental agreements designed to suit any budget, lifestyle or need, as well as offering an exclusive Rent, Try, BuyTM incentive in which customers have the opportunity to try and then buy the equipment they are renting or a product that is similar in age, dimension and design. In addition, customers who have been renting their equipment for a period of 36 months can negotiate a buyout price of $1.

Radio Rentals is owned by The Thorn Group, one of Australia's leading providers of retail and financial services to consumer and commercial markets.