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Aaron Rents, Inc. Reports Record First Quarter Results


ATLANTA, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Aaron Rents, Inc. (NYSE: RNT), the nation's leader in the rental, sales and lease ownership, and specialty retailing of residential and office furniture, consumer electronics and home appliances, today announced record revenues and earnings for the first quarter of 2001.

For the three months ended March 31, 2001, revenues advanced 13% to a record $141.4 million compared to $125.4 million for the first quarter of 2000. Net earnings for the first quarter increased to $7.3 million and $.37 per share on a diluted basis compared to $.36 per share for the same period last year.

Systemwide revenues for the Company, which includes revenues of franchised stores, advanced 17% to $189.4 million for the quarter versus $161.7 million a year ago.

The Company's Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership division continued its strong expansion, increasing its revenues 23% to a record $97.8 million for the first quarter compared to $79.4 million for the same period in 2000. Systemwide revenues for the division were $145.8 million, an increase of 26% over last year's quarter. Revenues from Company-operated sales and lease ownership stores open in comparable quarters increased 12.6% during the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago. The division opened 12 new stores in the first quarter, seven Company-operated and five franchised stores, and added eight stores through acquisition, bringing the total of sales and lease ownership stores open at the end of March to 476.

Revenues from the Company's rent-to-rent stores open in comparable quarters were down 0.5% during the quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

"We are pleased with the strong revenue growth of our Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership stores and the progress of our previously announced accelerated store opening plan," said R. Charles Loudermilk, Sr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "During the quarter we opened four of the former Heilig-Meyers locations acquired last December, and early results of the ramp- up of these stores is encouraging. We plan to open 20 more of the former Heilig-Meyers locations in the second quarter. As expected, the up-front costs associated with opening these new stores along with the carry-over of start-up losses of stores open within the past year affected our earnings growth this quarter. We anticipate, however, substantial earnings improvement in the latter part of 2001 as a result of these new store openings."

Aaron Rents, Inc., based in Atlanta, currently has more than 575 Company- operated and franchised stores in 42 states and Puerto Rico for the rental and sale of residential and office furniture, accessories, consumer electronics and household appliances. The Company also manufactures furniture, bedding and accessories at 11 facilities in four states.

Note: Forward-looking statements in this news release are based on current
expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results
may vary materially from the expectations due to such factors as changes in
general economic conditions, competition, pricing, customer demand and other

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1993: Statements in this news release regarding Aaron Rents, Inc.'s business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for fiscal 2000, which discussion is incorporated herein by this reference.

                      Aaron Rents, Inc. and Subsidiaries
                     Consolidated Statements of Earnings
                   (In thousands, except per share amounts)

                                                      Three Months Ended
                                                            March 31,
                                                      2001           2000

      Rentals and Fees                              $102,068        $87,514
      Retail Sales                                    17,276         17,305
      Non-Retail Sales                                17,946         16,830
      Other                                            4,127          3,723
       Total                                         141,417        125,372

    Costs and Expenses:
      Retail Cost of Sales                            12,222         12,233
      Non-Retail Cost of Sales                        16,729         15,493
      Operating Expenses                              66,554         56,415
      Depreciation of Rental Merchandise              32,482         28,263
      Interest                                         1,628          1,227
       Total                                         129,615        113,631

    Earnings Before Taxes                             11,802         11,741

    Income Taxes                                       4,473          4,463

    Net Earnings                                      $7,329         $7,278

    Earnings Per Share                                  $.37           $.37

    Earnings Per Share Assuming Dilution                $.37           $.36

    Weighted Average Shares Outstanding               19,870         19,900

    Weighted Average Shares Outstanding
     Assuming Dilution                                20,074         20,091


SOURCE Aaron Rents, Inc.

CONTACT: Gilbert L. Danielson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Aaron Rents, Inc., 404-231-0011/

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