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Appliance Direct Drops 21 Rex Leases

Appliance Direct, the central Florida white-goods chain, has cut the number of locations it will lease from Rex Stores, from 37, to 16.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the companies amended their lease agreements last month, relieving Appliance Direct of its obligation to lease all 37 storefronts, as originally agreed to in February.

The lease deal was part of Rex’s strategy to shed its stores and exit its retail business, allowing the company to focus on its investments in real estate and alternative energy production.

Rex said in the filing that it will market the 21 vacant properties rejected by Appliance Direct through “normal real estate brokerage channels for lease or sale.”

Under terms of the amended agreement, Appliance Direct cannot terminate certain leases in the future and has forfeited the right to purchase the stores from Rex.

Appliance Direct already occupies the 16 leased and sub-leased properties, which are located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, extending the trading area of the Florida-based chain.

Rex has applied a payment made to Appliance Direct — for assuming its customers’ extended-service plans on Frigidaire and Whirlpool appliances — toward rent on the stores.

“We’re still hopeful [Appliance Direct] will come back and lease the other ones,” chairman/CEO Stuart Rose told the Dayton Daily News. “But in the meantime we’re going to try and lease them to other people.”

Rex shuttered its final store in July, the newspaper reported.

Separately, Rex’s management information systems VP David Fuchs left the company effective July 31. His departure follows that of president/COO David Bearden in June.