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Larry Thomas

Aaron's revenues climb 9.2% in third quarter

ATLANTA — Rent-to-own powerhouse Aaron's Inc. said third-quarter profits rose 3.2% on a 9.2% jump in revenues.

The company said its flagship Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership stores drove much of the growth, recording a same-store increase of 6.5% at company-owned locations. Customer count was up 8.2% on a same-store basis.

Total revenues for the quarter ended Sept. 30, including franchise royalties and fees, totaled $529.5 million. That was up from $484.7 million in last year's third quarter.

Net income came to $28.9 million or 38 cents per share. That compares with $28 million or 36 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

The most recent quarter included a one-time charge of $10.4 million, or 8 cents per share, for cost associated with the recent retirement of founder Charlie Loudermilk.

"We are pleased with our third quarter results of operations," said Ronald Allen, president and CEO. "Demand for the high-quality, basic home furnishings we offer, with superior service and flexible payment terms, continues in these difficult economic times. We expect 2012 will be another record year for the company in both revenues and earnings."

The company is forecasting revenues of more than $2.2 billion and earnings per share of $2.25 to $2.29 for the year. The latest earnings forecast is slightly below a July forecast of $2.27 to $2.35 per share.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, revenues totaled $1.65 billion, up 10.3% from $1.5 billion in the first nine months of 2011.

Nine-month net income was $136.4 million or $1.77 per share. That's up from $83.2 million or $1.04 per share in the same period last year. The first nine months of this year included a $35.5 million reversal of a litigation expense that was added to first-quarter income.

As of Sept. 30, Aaron's had 1,190 company-owned and 717 franchised Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership stores; 78 company-owned and 1 franchised HomeSmart stores; and 17 company-owned and six franchised Rimco stores.

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