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From Home Furnishing Business

Aaron's Q4 Sales Down 2 Percent

Rent-to-own retailer Aaron's (NYSE: AAN) reported fourth-quarter 2013 sales of $553.9 million, a 2 percent decrease from the prior-year period.

Quarterly met earnings were down to $22.7 million from $36.6 million a year ago.

"As we previously announced on January 13th, the Company's financial results in the fourth quarter did not meet expectations," said Ronald W. Allen, chairman, president and CEO of Aaron's, Atlanta, Ga. "2013 has been a year of challenges and change for Aaron's and growing revenues and adding customers has been difficult with the ongoing economic pressures on low to middle income consumers."

For the 12 months ended Dec. 31, revenues increased 1 percent to $2.235 billion; and net earnings were $120.7 million versus $173.0 million in 2012.

"Our customer count grew only slightly in 2013 and due to the nature of the sales and lease ownership business it will take several quarters of increasing our customer base to significantly grow revenues and earnings," Allen continued. "We have spent substantial effort during the year strengthening our management team and operating practices and procedures, and believe the corporate infrastructure is now in place to produce solid and sustainable future financial performance. With better focus and execution our core business should return to more normal trends. We remain optimistic and look forward to better performance in 2014."

Same store revenues fell 0.9 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013 compared with the fourth quarter of 2012' and customer count on a same store basis was down 1.4 percent.

During the fourth quarter of 2013, Aaron's opened 19 company-operated Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership stores, 16 franchised stores, three HomeSmart stores and four RIMCO stores. The Company also acquired one Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership franchised store and two franchised stores closed during the quarter.

Through the three and twelve months ended Dec. 31, 2013, the company awarded area development agreements to open 14 and 39 additional franchised stores, respectively. As of the year end, there were area development agreements outstanding for the opening of 159 franchised stores over the next several years.

The total number of stores open at Dec. 31 was 2,151.

Click here for the full Aaron's release.

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