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First Cash Reports 35% Increase In Fourth Quarter Earnings Per Share To $0.93; Pawn Revenue Growth In Both The U.S. And Mexico Drives Record Earnings; Company Announces New Share Buyback Authorization

"We are also pleased to report record 2012 operating results, which saw earnings per share increase by 22%. The fourth quarter EPS growth was particularly strong at 35%, driven by impressive pawn performance in both the U.S. and Mexico. Fourth quarter retail sales were solid across all markets and we were able to improve retail margins by two percentage points over the prior year. We closed the year posting a 41% increase in consolidated pawn receivables, which gives us a solid base from which to grow revenues and earnings in 2013. The strength in our pawn operations, particularly in Mexico, more than offset our strategic de-emphasis of the U.S. payday loan business that now contributes less than 9% to Company revenues."

"First Cash has clearly differentiated itself in Mexico with the large format, full-service model. We added 91 locations in 2012, and with 485 full-service locations, First Cash has a dominant share of the large format retail pawn market. Our fourth quarter operating results were especially strong in Mexico, which saw a 50% increase in pawn receivables and 45% growth in pawn fees (increases of 39% and 38%, respectively, on a constant currency basis). This success demonstrates the continued growth potential of our large format business model in Mexico, where our pawn operations are strategically focused on hard good (non-gold) lending and retail sales. We plan to add 65 to 70 stores in Mexico during 2013, with up to 30 openings planned in the first quarter alone, as we continue to believe that this market can support 800 to 1,000 large format, full-service stores." 

"The Company's U.S. pawn operations grew in 2012 as well, where we added 52 locations, primarily through targeted acquisitions. As a result of the significant acquisitions throughout 2012 and positive same-store results, our year-over-year pawn receivables increased by 34%, with a similar increase in fourth quarter pawn fee revenues. Fourth quarter retail sales were particularly impressive, improving 38% over the prior year. Looking ahead to 2013, we plan to open 10 to 15 de novo stores in the U.S. and will continue to look for strategic acquisition opportunities."

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