In the U.S., First Cash added a total of 14 large format pawn stores in 2010, increasing the U.S. store count from 97 to 111 full service locations. Seven of the new locations were added in the fourth quarter, primarily de novo stores in the Company's Texas markets. Coupled with the mid-year acquisition of five stores on the East Coast, the Company believes that the added stores will drive additional U.S. revenue and profitability. The Company expects to add additional U.S. pawn stores in 2011 which are included in the consolidated store opening target.   

The strength of the Company's cash flows and balance sheet liquidity continued to be impressive. All of the 2010 store openings, acquisitions and receivables growth were funded from operating cash flows. There are no amounts outstanding on the Company's $25 million unsecured credit facility, and net investable cash balances have increased approximately $45 million over the past twelve months.

In summary, Mr. Wessel said, "We believe that First Cash remains well-positioned to deliver continued profitability and long-term earnings growth.   Our business model has proven to be recession resistant and the demand for our credit and retail products continues to grow in both the U.S. and Mexico. Our outstanding operating results in 2010 serve to provide strong validation of our operating model and ongoing strategy. We believe that strong cash flows will continue to support growth through our robust store expansion strategy. In addition, the strength of the balance sheet provides tremendous strategic flexibility and will allow us to generate additional returns for our shareholders. We are excited about our future and remain committed to increasing shareholder value."  

Forward-Looking Information 

This release may contain forward-looking statements about the business, financial condition and prospects of the Company. Forward-looking statements, as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "projects," "expects," "may," "estimates," "should," "plans," "targets," "intends," "could," or "anticipates," or the negative thereof, or other variations thereon, or comparable terminology, or by discussions of strategy or objectives. Forward-looking statements can also be identified by the fact that these statements do not relate strictly to historical or current matters. Rather, forward-looking statements relate to anticipated or expected events, activities, trends or results. Because forward-looking statements relate to matters that have not yet occurred, these statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements in this release include, without limitation, the Company's expectations of earnings per share, earnings growth, expansion strategies, store openings, liquidity, cash flow, consumer demand for the Company's products and services, competition, strategic options, and other performance results. These statements are made to provide the public with management's current assessment of the Company's business. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in forward-looking statements are reasonable, there can be no assurances that such expectations will prove to be accurate. Security holders are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained in this release speak only as of the date of this statement, and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to report any updates or revisions to any such statement to reflect any change in the Company's expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Certain factors may cause results to differ materially from those anticipated by some of the statements made in this release. Such factors are difficult to predict and many are beyond the control of the Company and may include changes in regional, national or international economic conditions, changes in the inflation rate, changes in the unemployment rate, changes in consumer purchasing, borrowing and repayment behaviors, changes in credit markets, the ability to renew and/or extend the Company's existing bank line of credit, credit losses, changes or increases in competition, the ability to locate, open and staff new stores, the availability or access to sources of inventory, inclement weather, the ability to successfully integrate acquisitions, the ability to hire and retain key management personnel, the ability to operate with limited regulation as a credit services organization, new federal, state or local legislative initiatives or governmental regulations (or changes to existing laws and regulations) affecting short-term/payday loan businesses, credit services organizations and pawn businesses (in both the United States and Mexico), changes in import/export regulations and tariffs or duties, changes in anti-money laundering regulations, unforeseen litigation, changes in interest rates, monetary inflation, changes in tax rates or policies, changes in gold prices, changes in energy prices, cost of funds, changes in foreign currency exchange rates, future business decisions, public health issues and other uncertainties. These and other risks, uncertainties and regulatory developments are further and more completely described in the Company's 2009 Annual Report on Form 10-K and updated in subsequent releases on Form 10-Q.