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Aaron's Versus Rent-A-Center; Q1 2009 Comparison
04-28-09
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Both companies will broadcast online conference calls today.

Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) and Aaron's (NYSE:AAN), the nation's two largest rent-to-own companies, reported sharply different results for the first quarter of 2009. Rent-A-Center revenues were $728.2 million, a decrease of $28.4 million from 2008. Aaron's revenues rose 15% to $474.0 million compared to $412.7 million for Q1, 2008.

Store count for both companies was flat during the quarter (from Q4, 2008).

Both companies will broadcast online conference calls today. Listen to the Aaron's call at 10:30 Eastern. Listen to the Rent-A-Center call at 10:45 Eastern.

Rent-A-Center same store sales decreased 2.5%. Aaron's rent-to-own division (sales and lease-ownership) same store sales increased 7.9%. Rent-A-Center net earnings were $45.4 million/$0.68 per share. Aaron's net earnings were $35.4 million/$.65 per share.

Rent-A-Center expects same store sales for Q2 to be down 4% to 6%. Aaron's did not forecast Q2 same store sales.

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"In the first quarter, we improved our operating profit margin by increasing our gross profit margin on both our rentals and fees and merchandise sales as well as reducing our expenses, resulting in our adjusted earnings per share exceeding our guidance," commented Mark E. Speese, the Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Our portfolio of customer agreements was softer than expected in the first quarter; however, we believe April's results point to a more positive trend," Speese stated. "Despite the softness in customer agreements during the first quarter, we believe we are improving our margins and prudently using our cash. As a result, we have increased the lower end of our previous 2009 earnings guidance with diluted earnings per share now at $2.18 to $2.32," Speese ended.

"We are pleased with these record revenues and earnings and that once again our results exceeded expectations," said Robert C. Loudermilk, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Aaron's. "Our business has been especially strong in recent quarters as more consumers are finding it extremely attractive to use the Aaron's option of obtaining basic home furnishings necessities with no credit checks and the ability to return the merchandise at any time. Although we have done well through the years in different economic environments, both good and challenging, we believe the current conditions have helped accelerate the number of customers coming into our stores. We currently see no indication that this trend will diminish in the foreseeable future."

See full quarterly results for each company here: Rent-A-Center | Aaron's

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