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Aaron's (AAN) Q1 Earnings & Sales Miss, Reiterates View

Aaron’s Inc. AAN recently posted first-quarter 2016 results, wherein both top and bottom lines lagged estimates, and earnings also declined year over year, thus leading to a soft start to the year.

This rent-to-own company’s adjusted earnings of 71 cents per share slipped 2.7% year over year and missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 75 cents. Including one-time items, the company reported earnings of 68 cents per share, flat with the prior-year quarter.

The company’s top line advanced nearly 4% to $854.4 million, mainly backed by revenue growth at the company’s Progressive division. However, Aaron’s total revenue fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $864 million.

Comparable store sales (comps) at company-operated stores dipped 2.1%, while the customer count, on a same-store basis, improved 0.4%. Comps at the company’s franchise stores registered a 0.6% decline with a 3% rise in the same-store customer count. At quarter end, the company’s self-operated stores had 1.04 million customers, reflecting a 0.5% year-over-year dip. The franchisees had a customer base of 562,000, representing a 2.4% year-over-year fall.

The company’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved marginally to $104 million from $103.7 million in the prior-year period. However, adjusted EBITDA margin contracted 40 basis points (bps) to 12.2%.

Segment Details

Core Business

Aaron’s core business’ sales dropped 4.8% to $543 million in the quarter. Within the core business, the company’s Sales & Lease Ownership division posted revenues of $523.7 million, down 5.2% from the first quarter of 2015. Conversely, HomeSmart revenues of $17.8 million rose 6.4%. The segment’s adjusted EBITDA was $70.9 million, with margin contracting 10 bps to 13.1%.

Also, during the quarter, the company inked a deal to divest the assets of its HomeSmart division, which is expected to conclude in the second quarter of 2016.


Progressive, acquired in Apr 2014, contributed $306.7 million to revenues in the first quarter of 2016, marking a 21.9% year-over-year surge. This was driven by a 14% rise in the number of active doors in the quarter, though invoice volume per active door fell 2.7%. The segment’s EBITDA was $34.8 million, with the EBITDA margin remaining flat at 11.3%. Moreover, Progressive had 507,000 customers as of Mar 31, 2016, representing 12% growth from last year. We note that Progressive acquired DAMI in Oct 2015, which contributed revenues worth $4.8 million in the reported quarter.

Financial Position

Aaron’s ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $118.9 million, debt of $518 million, and total shareholders’ equity of $1,417.9 million.

In the first quarter, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company generated cash from operations of $194.5 million.

Store Update

Aaron’s consolidated or shuttered four franchised Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership stores, while selling one to a third party. The company did not open or close down any company-operated Sales & Lease Ownership stores.

As of Mar 31, 2016, Aaron’s had a total of 1,223 company-operated Sales & Lease Ownership stores, 727 franchised Sales & Lease Ownership stores, 82 company-operated HomeSmart stores and 2 franchised HomeSmart stores. Consequently, the company operated 2,034 stores in total as of quarter end.


Following the first-quarter results, Aaron’s reiterated its previously issued outlook for 2016, which includes contribution from the DAMI acquisition.

The company expects consolidated revenues in the range of $3.25–$3.45 billion, excluding franchised revenues.

Segment-wise, the company expects revenues for the core segment in the range of $2.05–$2.15 billion, while Progressive is expected to contribute about $1.02–$1.30 billion to total revenue. Core business revenues will include about $1.55–$1.65 billion from lease revenues. Comps are expected to come in the range of negative 3% to positive 2% in each quarter, maintaining an improving trend anticipated throughout 2016.

Adjusted EBITDA is projected in the range of $330–$360 million, including core business adjusted EBITDA of $210–$230 million and Progressive adjusted EBITDA of $125–$135 million.

Consequently, the company anticipates GAAP earnings for 2016 in the band of $2.03–$2.23 per share, while adjusted earnings are estimated to range from $2.20–$2.40 per share. Consolidated capital spending in 2016 is expected to be $70–$90 million.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other well-ranked retail stocks worth considering include Burlington Stores, Inc. BURL, Dollar General Corporation DG and The TJX Companies, Inc. TJX, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2. 

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