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FIRST AARON'S RENT-TO-OWN(R) FRANCHISE OPENS; EXPANSION OF COMPANY-OWNED STORES ANNOUNCED

 FIRST AARON'S RENT-TO-OWN(R) FRANCHISE OPENS;
 EXPANSION OF COMPANY-OWNED STORES ANNOUNCED
 ATLANTA, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Aaron's Rent-To-Own(R), an operating division of Aaron Rents, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARON), the nation's largest furniture rental and sales company, today announced the opening of its first rent-to-own franchise store, the awarding of two more RTO franchises, and a plan to expand company-owned rent-to-own stores at a rate of one per month.
 "This marks the start of what we believe will be a successful program of franchise growth, based on the strong response to our initial marketing efforts in the Southeast," said R. Charles Loudermilk Sr., chairman and chief executive officer of Aaron Rents, Inc. "We are also stepping up our pace of opening company-owned stores due to the performance of our stores in the past year."
 The first Aaron's Rent-To-Own(R) franchise operation begins today in Hammond, La. The franchise owner, James Capdeboscq, said the new store fills a need in Hammond, a city of 15,000 about 35 miles north of New Orleans. Under the Aaron's Rent-To-Own(R) concept, franchises are being awarded in smaller markets offering the greatest growth potential, while company-owned stores are located in larger market areas.
 The second and third Aaron's Rent-To-Own(R) franchise stores will be in Augusta, Ga., and the Richmond, Va., area, Loudermilk announced.
 Because of the profitable growth of company-owned rent-to-own stores which now total 31, plans are to open at least 10 more company-owned stores by the end of the current fiscal year on March 31, 1993, Loudermilk said. These stores will be located in major metropolitan areas which have provided strong markets for Aaron's Rent-To-Own(R).
 Loudermilk said the company plans to take advantage of the growth opportunities in rent-to-own. Studies by the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO) show that 30 percent of the U.S. population are prospective rent-to-own customers. APRO estimates only about 25 percent of the rent-to-own market has been captured.
 Aaron's Rent-To-Own(R) produces its own line of furniture at five manufacturing plants and offers a unique 12-month rent-to-own program, a highly successful approach, contrasting the 18-month industry practice.
 For the year ended March 31, Aaron Rents' revenues increased from $143.2 million to $144.5 million and net earnings rose to $3.1 million, or $.72 per share, compared to $1.0 million, or $.23 per share, the previous year. The company credited its performance to a program of expanding in strong market areas while selling or closing stores not meeting profit objectives. Rent-to-own stores made a significant contribution to profits.
 Aaron Rents, Inc., based in Atlanta, operates 150 stores in 22 states for the sale and rental of residential and office furniture and equipment. The company produces furniture at five plants in Georgia and Florida and recently opened its first business equipment rental store in Atlanta.
 -0- 6/1/92
 /CONTACT: Gilbert L. Danielson, vice president-Finance and chief financial officer of Aaron Rents, 404-231-0011/
 (ARON) CO: Aaron Rents, Inc. ST: Georgia IN: REA SU:


BR-EA -- AT012 -- 5855 06/01/92 15:51 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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