In the fourth quarter ended December 31, Aaron’s recorded net earnings of $21.6 million versus $21.7 million in the prior-year period with diluted earnings per share coming in at 30 cents in both instances.
On an adjusted basis, Aaron’s, which operations namesake lease-to-own stores, as well as the Progressive virtual lease-to-own business and Dent-A-Med, a second-look financing operation, posted net earnings of $36.3 million, or 50 cents per diluted share, versus $29.8 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, for the year-earlier fourth quarter. Aaron’s exceeded a MarketBeat published analyst average diluted earnings per share estimate of 45 cents for the fourth quarter.
Aaron’s overall revenues decreased 3.2% to $795 million year over year in the quarter. In the core Aaron’s business, comparable store revenues decreased 5.8% versus the 2015 fourth quarter, with comparable customer count down 4.2%. Revenues in the division decreased 14.5% to $463.5 million from the year-previous period.
For the full fiscal year, net earnings were $139.3 million versus $135.7 million last year, while diluted earnings per share were $1.91 compared with $1.86 per share in 2015. On an adjusted basis, fiscal 2016 net earnings were $167.7 million, or $2.30 per diluted share, compared with $157 million, or $2.15 per diluted share, in the year-before period. Revenues advanced 0.9% to $3.21 billion versus fiscal 2015.
Aaron’s CEO John Robinson said that 2016 had proven to be “another strong year for the company. Earnings for 2016 were driven by outstanding performance at Progressive. 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. We continue to innovate our model to drive revenue while maintaining a disciplined approach to right-sizing our store base and managing our expenses.”