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Aaron Rents Reports Solid Fourth Quarter

Shares of Aaron Rents (RNT) were rising Tuesday after the furniture- and electronics-rental company reported solid fourth-quarter earnings and raised its guidance for 2009, suggesting that at least one company is cashing in on consumers' drive to have -- but not hold -- during the economic downturn.

According to the company, fourth-quarter revenue for fiscal 2008 rose 11% to $404.9 million, up from $364.7 million for the same period a year earlier. Net income rose to 39 cents per share on earnings of $21.1 million, up from 28 cents per share on $15.5 million in 2007.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected EPS of 35 cents on revenue of $418.5 million.

Additionally the company said fourth-quarter same-store revenue increased 6.2% from the year-ago period.

CEO Robert C. Loudermilk Jr. "There is no question we are pleased and excited with these results," said CEO Robert C. Loudermilk Jr. in a press release. "As we have experienced for quite some time, we continue to gain revenues and customers even in this economic environment. As more people see the availability of their credit diminish or disappear, we expect our business will continue to be strong as we satisfy our customers' ongoing demand for basic home furnishings."

Looking ahead, Aaron Rentals said it expects revenue in excess of $445 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 and EPS between 49 cents and 54 cents, excluding significant store or asset sales. For the full year, it expects revenue of $1.75 billion and EPS in the range of $1.72 to $1.87, an increase over the previous guidance of $1.70 to $1.85 per diluted share.
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