ARLINGTON, Texas, March 14, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Cash Financial Services, Inc. (Nasdaq:FCFS) today announced that it is raising fiscal 2011 guidance for earnings per share from continuing operations to a range of $2.12 to $2.20, compared to the original estimate of $2.02 to $2.10. The increase is the result of stronger than expected quarter-to-date results, positive trends expected over the balance of 2011 and a recently completed acquisition of six pawn stores located in Indiana and Missouri. In addition, the Company has entered into an agreement to sell its Illinois payday lending operations, and may use proceeds from the sale, along with operating cash flows, to buy back shares of Company stock under its existing repurchase authorization. Fiscal 2011 Earnings Guidance The Company is increasing its estimate of earnings from continuing operations to be in a range of $2.12 to $2.20 per share for fiscal 2011, which excludes the projected 2011 earnings from the Illinois payday lending stores being sold. The previous guidance for earnings per share from continuing operations for fiscal 2011 was a range of $2.02 to $2.10 per share, which included an expected earnings contribution of approximately $0.05 per share from the Company's Illinois stores. Excluding the previously estimated 2011 earnings per share of $0.05 from the Illinois stores, the effective increase in 2011 guidance is approximately $0.15 per share. For the first quarter of 2011, projected earnings from continuing operations, excluding the Illinois stores, is now $0.47 to $0.49 per share. The increased guidance range implies estimated year-over-year earnings growth from continuing operations of approximately 42% to 48% for the first quarter of 2011 and 28% to 33% for the full year. Mr. Rick Wessel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Our quarter-to-date results have significantly exceeded expectations, as we continue to see strength across all markets and product sectors of our operations. As a result of this strength, coupled with the announced six-store pawn acquisition and other upward revisions in our forecast, we are raising our expectations for full-year revenue and profitability. We believe that our strategy, market positioning and the operating environment for our business is very positive for 2011."