Aaron’s, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Year End 2016 Results

aaronsAaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, today announced financial results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016. Aaron’s Inc. “Company” conducts its operations through three primary businesses: 1) Aaron’s branded lease-to-own stores and Aarons.com; 2) the Progressive virtual lease-to-own business; and 3) Dent-A-Med, Inc. “DAMI”, our second-look financing business. Going forward, we will refer to our Aaron’s branded lease-to-own stores and Aarons.com as our “Aaron’s Business,” which we formerly referred to as our “Core” business.

“2016 was another strong year for the Company. We served more customers than in any year in the Company’s history and delivered record financial performance,” said John Robinson, Chief Executive Officer. “The results reflect disciplined execution across an omnichannel platform that spans retail stores, e-commerce and virtual lease-to-own.”

“Earnings for 2016 were driven by outstanding performance at Progressive,” continued Mr. Robinson. “Favorable lease portfolio performance generated improved profitability for Progressive, and strong door growth contributed to a double-digit increase in invoice volume. We’re excited about the prospects for Progressive as we enter 2017.”

“During 2016, we took aggressive action in the Aaron’s Business to strengthen our management team, reduce costs, and increase our focus on execution in our stores and on Aarons.com,” Mr. Robinson stated. “We continue to innovate our model to drive revenue while maintaining a disciplined approach to right-sizing our store base and managing our expenses.”

“We significantly strengthened our balance sheet in 2016, which provides us with the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business and return excess capital to shareholders. In 2016, we returned nearly $42 million to our shareholders through stock repurchases and cash dividends. The Company ended the year with $309 million in cash and a net debt to capitalization ratio of 9.6%, with 9.1 million shares remaining on our existing share repurchase authorization,” Mr. Robinson concluded.

Financial Summary
For the fourth quarter of 2016, Company revenues, which includes the Aaron’s, Progressive and DAMI businesses, decreased 3.2% to $795.0 million compared with $821.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2015. Net earnings were $21.6 million compared with $21.7 million in the prior year period. Diluted earnings per share were $0.30 in both periods. The effective tax rate for the three months ended December 31, 2016 was 33.0% compared with 36.8% for the prior year period.

On a non-GAAP basis, net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016 were $36.3 million compared with $29.8 million for the same period in 2015, and earnings per share assuming dilution were $0.50 in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to $0.41 for the same quarter in 2015. In 2016, non-GAAP net earnings and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share exclude the effects of amortization expense resulting from our 2014 acquisition of Progressive, a gain related to the sale of our HomeSmart business and Aaron’s Business restructuring charges. In 2015, non-GAAP net earnings and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share exclude the effects of amortization expense resulting from our 2014 acquisition of Progressive, transaction costs related to the October 2015 DAMI acquisition and a loss due to a lease termination on a Company aircraft. See “Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information” and the related non-GAAP reconciliation accompanying this press release.

Adjusted EBITDA for the Company, which excludes the aforementioned charges and adjustments, was $73.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with $67.4 million for the same period in 2015. See “Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information” and the related non-GAAP reconciliation accompanying this press release.

During fiscal year 2016, revenues increased 0.9% to $3.208 billion compared with $3.180 billion for the prior year. Net earnings were $139.3 million versus $135.7 million last year. Diluted earnings per share were $1.91 compared with $1.86 per share a year ago.

On a non-GAAP basis, net earnings for fiscal year 2016 were $167.7 million compared with $157.0 million for 2015 and diluted earnings per share were $2.30 compared with $2.15 in 2015. Non-GAAP net earnings and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share in 2016 exclude the effects of amortization expense resulting from the 2014 acquisition of Progressive, a gain on the sale of the Company’s headquarters building, retirement and severance charges, a loss resulting from the Company’s sale of its HomeSmart business and the Aaron’s Business restructuring. In 2015, non-GAAP results exclude the effects of Progressive amortization, the transaction costs related to the October 2015 DAMI acquisition and a loss due to a lease termination on a Company aircraft. See “Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information” and the related non-GAAP reconciliation accompanying this press release.

Adjusted EBITDA for the Company, which excludes the aforementioned other charges and adjustments, was $342.5 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 compared with $323.8 million for the same period in 2015. See “Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information” and the related non-GAAP reconciliation accompanying this press release.

The Company generated $465.4 million in cash from operations during 2016 and ended the year with $308.6 million in cash compared with $14.9 million at the end of 2015.

Aaron’s Business Results
For the fourth quarter of 2016, total revenues for the Aaron’s Business decreased 14.5% to $463.5 million from $542.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Total revenues for fiscal year 2016 decreased 8.5% to $1.946 billion compared with $2.127 billion for fiscal year 2015.

On May 13, 2016, the Company completed the sale of its HomeSmart business. Revenues for the HomeSmart business through May 13, 2016 were $25.4 million. Revenues for the HomeSmart business were $15.8 million and $63.2 million, respectively, for the fourth quarter and twelve months ended December 31, 2015. Excluding the sale of HomeSmart, total revenues for the Aaron’s Business decreased 12.0% and 6.9% for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016, respectively. Lease revenue and fees for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016 decreased 6% and 3.4%, respectively, excluding the sale of HomeSmart. Non-retail sales, which primarily consist of merchandise sales to the Company’s franchisees, decreased 29.5% for the fourth quarter and 20.7% for the twelve months of 2016, compared with the prior-year periods.

Earnings before income taxes for the Aaron’s Business was $4.8 million and $123.0 million for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016, respectively, compared with $26.6 million and $160.6 million for the same periods a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016 was $32.4 million and $191.2 million, respectively, compared with $42.9 million and $215.8 million for the same periods a year ago. As a percentage of revenue, Adjusted EBITDA was 7.0% and 9.8% for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016, respectively, compared with 7.9% and 10.1% for the same periods in 2015. Write offs for damaged, lost or unsaleable merchandise were 4.6% of revenues in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 4.7% for the same period last year.

Same store revenues (revenues earned in Company-operated stores open for the entirety of both quarters) decreased 5.8% during the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the fourth quarter of 2015, and customer count on a same store basis was down 4.2%. Company-operated Aaron’s stores had 973,000 customers at December 31, 2016, a 6.0% decrease from the end of 2015, excluding HomeSmart customers for both periods.

At December 31, 2016, the Company had 1,165 Company-operated stores and 699 franchised stores. During the fourth quarter of 2016, 61 Company-operated stores and four franchised stores were consolidated or closed. Two Company-operated stores were sold to a third party.

As discussed previously, the Company has undertaken a review of its store base to identify underperforming stores and right size its footprint in existing markets. As part of that review, in addition to closing 61 stores in the fourth quarter of 2016 and consolidating their customer accounts into other stores, the Company has identified approximately 70 additional stores to be closed in the second quarter of 2017. The Company may decide to close additional stores in future periods.

The decision to close approximately 70 stores in the second quarter of 2017 resulted in a pre-tax charge of approximately $2.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. The Company expects to incur an additional pre-tax charge of approximately $13 million in the second quarter of 2017 with respect to the stores that have been identified for closure.

Progressive Results
Progressive’s revenues in the fourth quarter of 2016 increased 17.3% to $324.0 million from $276.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Progressive’s revenues for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 were $1.238 billion compared with $1.050 billion in the prior year period. Active doors increased 36% in the fourth quarter of 2016 to approximately 18,000. Invoice volume per active door declined 13% in the quarter, driven by strong growth in new doors. Progressive had 598,000 customers at December 31, 2016, a 17% increase from December 31, 2015.

Earnings before income taxes for Progressive was $29.0 million and $104.7 million for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016, respectively, compared with $9.8 million and $54.5 million for the same periods a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016 was $41.7 million and $155.5 million, respectively, compared with $25.5 million and $109.0 million for the same periods of 2015. As a percentage of revenues, Adjusted EBITDA was 12.9% and 12.6%, respectively, for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016, compared with 9.2% and 10.4% for the same periods in 2015. Write offs for damaged, lost or unsaleable merchandise were 5.9% of revenues in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 7.1% in the same period of 2015.

DAMI Results
Revenues for DAMI were $7.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $24.1 million for the 2016 fiscal year. DAMI’s loss before income taxes was $1.6 million and $9.3 million for the three and twelve months ending December 31, 2016, respectively. Its pre-tax, pre-provision loss was $552,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $3.6 million for the year.

Pre-tax, pre-provision loss is a non-GAAP measure that represents loss before income taxes adjusted so that loan charge-offs and recoveries are recognized in earnings as they occur by excluding the effect on earnings of changes to management’s provision for estimated future loan losses. Results for DAMI were in line with expectations. See “Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information” and the related non-GAAP reconciliation accompanying this press release for more information regarding the calculation of pre-tax, pre-provision loss.

Significant Components of Revenue
Consolidated lease revenues and fees for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2016 increased 1.5% and 3.6%, respectively, over the same prior year periods. In addition, franchise royalties and fees decreased 13.3% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 8.1% for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 compared to the same periods a year ago. The decrease in franchise royalties and fees was the combined result of decreases in revenues generated by our franchisees and the number of franchised stores. Our franchisee revenue totaled $214.0 million in the fourth quarter and $917.1 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016, a decrease of 10.3% and 5.7%, respectively, from the same periods for the prior year. Same store revenues for franchised stores were down 7.3% and same store customer counts were down 2.3% for the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter for the prior year. Franchised stores had 544,000 customers at the end of 2016, a 6.4% decline from the prior period (revenues and customers of franchisees are not revenues and customers of the Aaron’s Business or Aaron’s, Inc.).

2017 Outlook
The Company is providing the following outlook for the 2017 year. Diluted earnings per share is presented both on a GAAP basis and on a non-GAAP basis excluding Progressive-related intangible amortization and any future one-time or unusual items. Adjusted EBITDA also excludes any future one-time or unusual items. The Company currently expects to achieve the following:

Aaron’s Inc. (Consolidated)

  • Revenues of approximately $3.10 billion to $3.31 billion, excluding revenues of franchisees.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $320 million to $353 million.
  • GAAP diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.85 to $2.10.
  • Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share in the range of $2.15 to $2.40.
  • Capital expenditures of $60 million to $80 million.
  • Operations of both the Aaron’s Business and Progressive are expected to generate positive cash flow.

Aaron’s Business

  • Total revenues of approximately $1.68 billion to $1.78 billion, including lease revenues of $1.30 billion to $1.40 billion.
  • Same store revenues of approximately negative 12% to negative 8%.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $155 million to $170 million.
  • The above outlook includes the impact of the closure of approximately 70 stores in the second quarter of 2017.
  • The Company will continue to evaluate its store base for strategic growth and consolidation opportunities.

Progressive

  • Total revenues of approximately $1.40 billion to $1.50 billion.
  • EBITDA of $170 million to $185 million.

DAMI

  • Total revenues of approximately $25 million to $35 million.
  • EBITDA of approximately negative $5 million to negative $2 million.

Conference Call and Webcast
Aaron’s, Inc. will hold a conference call to discuss its quarterly and full-year financial results on Friday, February 17, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The public is invited to listen to the conference call by webcast accessible through the Company’s Investor Relations website, investor.aarons.com. The webcast will be archived for playback at that same site.

About Aaron’s, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), is a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions. Aaron’s Business engages in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories through its more than 1,860 Company-operated and franchised stores in 47 states and Canada as well as its e-commerce platform Aarons.com. In addition, Progressive Leasing, a virtual lease-to-own company, provides lease-purchase solutions through approximately 22,000 retail locations in 46 states. Dent-A-Med, Inc., d/b/a the HELPcard®, provides a variety of second-look credit products that are originated through federally insured banks. For more information, visit investor.aarons.com, Aarons.com, ProgLeasing.com, and HELPcard.com.

“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this news release regarding our business that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” that involve risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as “may,” “expect,” “expectations,” “outlook,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “intend,” “believe,” “could,” “project,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “should” and similar terminology. These risks and uncertainties include factors such as changes in general economic conditions, competition, pricing, legal and regulatory proceedings, customer privacy, information security, customer demand, the execution and results of our strategy and expense reduction and store closure and consolidation initiatives, risks related to Progressive’s “virtual” lease-to-own business, the outcome of Progressive’s pilot or test programs with various retailers and the results of Progressive’s efforts to expand its relationships with existing retailer partners and establish new partnerships with additional retailers, and the other risks and uncertainties discussed under “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015. Statements in this release that are “forward-looking” include without limitation: Aaron’s projected results (including Progressive’s results) and guidance for 2017, the number of stores the Company expects to close in the second quarter of 2017 and the charges expected to be incurred in connection therewith, and management’s capital allocation plans. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances after the date of this press release.

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