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Aaron Rents Reports Record Second Quarter; Same Store Revenues up 14.7%; Raises Outlook for Year
07-28-04
RTO Online
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Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership division increased its store count during the second quarter by 54 stores; 42 Company-operated stores and 12 franchised stores, bringing the total number of stores open at June 30 to 884.

Aaron Rents, Inc. (RNT) announced record revenues and earnings for the second quarter of 2004.

Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership division increased revenues 32% for both the second quarter and first six months of 2004 compared to the same periods a year ago, including a 14.7% increase in same store revenues during this year's second quarter.

"Once again we are quite pleased with the Company's results," said R. Charles Loudermilk, Sr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aaron Rents. "Our Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership division continues its rapid growth, adding 60 Company-operated stores and 37 franchise stores during the first six months of 2004, and we are well on our way to accomplishing our goals for the year."

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For the three months ended June 30, 2004 revenues advanced 30% to $230.3 million compared to $177.7 million for the second quarter of 2003. Net earnings for the second quarter increased 76% to $15.4 million, or $.46 per diluted share, compared to $8.8 million, or $.26 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

The Company's other revenues include a pre-tax gain of $5.5 million, or $.10 per diluted share, realized in the second quarter resulting from the disposition of its Rainbow Rentals, Inc. stock when Rainbow merged with Rent- A-Center, Inc. in May.

Revenues of the Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership division increased 32% for the quarter to $198.3 million versus $150.3 million in the second quarter of last year. First half sales and lease ownership revenues also increased 32% to $412.9 million compared to $312.2 million a year ago.

Same store revenues (revenues earned in Company-operated stores open for the entirety of both periods) in the Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership division increased 14.7% during the second quarter of 2004 compared to second quarter of 2003. Same store revenues increased 12.0% for stores open over two years at the end of June 2004.

During the second quarter the Company awarded area development agreements to various independent operators to open 31 new Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership franchise stores. Through the first six months of 2004, agreements have been signed for 84 additional new franchise stores. At the end of June there were 281 franchise stores awarded that are scheduled to open over the next several years.

The Company acquired 26 stores during the second quarter, including two franchise stores, and contracts and related merchandise of four additional stores. Also, during the second quarter, the Company converted ten of its 11 remaining Sight & Sound stores to Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership stores. Including these acquisitions and one Sight & Sound store closure, the Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership division increased its store count during the second quarter by 54 stores, comprising of 42 Company-operated stores and 12 franchised stores, bringing the total number of stores open at June 30 to 884. At the end of June the Company also had 60 rent-to-rent stores open.

A 3-for-2 stock split effected in the form of a 50% stock dividend on both Common Stock (RNT) and Class A Common Stock (RNT.A) was announced by the Company on July 12. New shares will be distributed on August 16, 2004 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 2, 2004. The accompanying table presents the second quarter results as if the split occurred prior to this date.

"For the third quarter of 2004 we expect revenues to be over $225 million and diluted earnings per share, on a pre-split basis, to be in the range of $.32 to $.34 per share," Mr. Loudermilk continued. "We are increasing our guidance for the full year of 2004, again expecting Company revenues to exceed $950 million (excluding revenues of franchisees), more than a 24% increase over 2003, with diluted earnings per share, on a pre-split basis, in the range of $1.50 to $1.54, compared to the $1.10 diluted per share recorded in 2003. Our previous earnings guidance for the 2004 year was between $1.48 and $1.53 per diluted share. Our new store opening plans for 2004 are to open approximately 140 new stores, a combination of Company-operated and franchised stores, in addition to adding between 40 and 50 Company-operated stores during the year through acquisition. Our initial outlook for 2005 is to continue to increase our Company-operated and franchise store base in excess of 15% annually and achieve diluted earnings per share, on a pre-split basis, in the range of $1.70 to $1.80."

Aaron Rents will hold a conference call to discuss its quarterly financial results on Thursday, July 29, 2004, at 10:30 am Eastern Time.  A link to the live webcast will be available from My RTO Portfolio.

RTO Online is the official channel for Rent-to-Own Industry News and the only independent source of news for the rent-to-own, rental-purchase, lease-purchase trade. RTO Online (Rent to Own Online) represents the choice of the entire RTO Industry for trusted information, as it happens.

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