Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
12 Months Ended
Sep. 28, 2019
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies Commitments and Contingencies
Letters of credit – The Company had $3.2 million of outstanding letters of credit related to normal business transactions at September 28, 2019. These agreements require the Company to maintain specified amounts of cash as collateral in segregated accounts to support the letters of credit issued thereunder, which will affect the amount of cash the Company has available for other uses. The amount of cash collateral in these segregated accounts was $12.9 million and $10.9 million as of September 28, 2019 and September 29, 2018, respectively, and is reflected in “Restricted cash” on the Company's consolidated balance sheets.
Purchase commitments – Production and purchase agreements (primarily for grass seed and grains) entered into in the ordinary course of business may obligate the Company to make future purchases based on estimated yields. The terms of these contracts vary; some have fixed prices or quantities while others have variable pricing and quantities.  For certain agreements, management estimates are used to develop the quantities and pricing for anticipated purchases, and future purchases could vary significantly from such estimates.
Leases – The Company has operating lease agreements principally for office and warehouse facilities and equipment. Such leases have remaining terms of one to 10 years. Rental expense was $41.7 million for fiscal 2019, $35.4 million for fiscal 2018 and $31.7 million for fiscal 2017 and is included in cost of goods sold and occupancy or selling, general and administrative expenses in the Company's consolidated statements of operations.
Certain facility leases have renewal options and include escalation clauses. Minimum lease payments include scheduled rent increases pursuant to these fixed escalation provisions.
Aggregate minimum annual payments on non-cancelable operating leases at September 28, 2019 are as follows:
(in thousands)
Fiscal year:







The Company may from time to time become involved in legal proceedings in the ordinary course of business. Currently, the Company is not a party to any legal proceedings the resolution of which management believes could have a material effect on the Company’s financial position or results of operations with the exception of the proceeding below.
In 2012, Nite Glow Industries, Inc and its owner, Marni Markell, (“Nite Glow”) filed suit in the United States District Court for New Jersey against the Company alleging that the applicator developed and used by the Company for certain of its branded topical flea and tick products infringes a patent held by Nite Glow and asserted related claims for breach of contract and misappropriation of confidential information based on the terms of a Non-Disclosure Agreement.  On June 27, 2018, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Nite Glow on each of the three claims and awarded damages of approximately $12.6 million.  The case is currently in the post-trial motion phase of proceedings and is expected to proceed to appeal once all such motions have been resolved.  Unless the verdicts are over-turned in the post-trial proceedings, the Company intends to vigorously pursue its rights on appeal and believes that it will prevail on the merits. While the Company believes that the ultimate resolution of this matter will not have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements, the outcome of litigation is inherently uncertain and the final resolution of this matter may result in expense to the Company in excess of management's expectations.
During fiscal 2013, the Company received notices from several states stating that they have appointed an agent to conduct an examination of the books and records of the Company to determine whether it has complied with state unclaimed property laws. In addition to seeking unclaimed property subject to escheat laws, the states may seek interest, penalties and other relief. The examinations are at an early stage and, as such, management is unable to determine the impact, if any, on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.
The Company has experienced, and may in the future experience, issues with products that may lead to product liability, recalls, withdrawals, replacements of products, or regulatory actions by governmental authorities. The Company has not experienced recent issues with products, the resolution of which management believes would have a material effect on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.