Aaron’s woes continue, but Progressive business hits $1 billion mark

Foot traffic continued to drop for rent-to-own giant Aaron’s in the fourth quarter, but the company’s Progressive sector passed a major milestone in 2015.

The Atlanta company on Thursday said customer counts fell 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year. Same-store revenues for company-operated locations decreased 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter, in part dragged down by struggling stores in Texas.

Revenue for the company’s Progressive business, however, jumped 31.6 percent to $276.1 million in the quarter. For the year, Progressive revenues crossed the $1 billion line, up from the $100 million the business earned in 2011.

Overall, when all earnings are combined, revenues increased 10 percent in the fourth quarter to $821.2 million compared with $748.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2014, the company said. Profit fell slightly to $21.7 million versus $22.1 million in the prior year period. Earnings per share was 30 cents in both periods.

“Our financial performance for 2015 was in line with our original guidance for the year with consolidated revenues increasing 18 percent,” said John Robinson, Aaron’s chief executive officer.

Robinson said the company’s “e-commerce” is beating expectations and that sequential customer growth at Aaron’s stores is on its best growth pace since 2012, despite the foot traffic woes.

“We’ll seek to build on these gains in 2016 as we focus on driving profitable growth, onboarding new retailers at Progressive and improving our omni-channel platform,” Robinson said.

Aaron's founder Charlie Loudermilk, 87, surprised Aaron's employees at the company's annual National Managers Meeting in New Orleans.

Aaron’s founder Charlie Loudermilk, 87, surprised Aaron’s employees at the company’s annual National Managers Meeting in New Orleans.

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