Although the novel coronavirus outbreak persists, the U.S. government has started to ease restrictions. As a result, Aaron’s, Inc. AAN announced encouraging second-quarter 2020 guidance, which includes the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Notably, revenues are forecasted between $975 million and $1 billion in the second quarter. Adjusted earnings are also envisioned to be 80-85 cents per share, whose midpoint of 82.5 cents comes way above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 43 cents. Management expects revenues and earnings in the third and fourth quarters to be significantly better sequentially, driven by the improving trajectory of its lease origination activity.
With Progressive's retail partners reopening their stores, invoice volumes are showing signs of improvement. Going ahead, management expects this trend to continue. In fact, invoice volumes are envisioned to be flat to down low-single digits during the second quarter. The company also noted that the segment will not incur any costs related to COVID-19 in the said quarter.
Further, revenues in the Aaron’s segment are projected to decline 15% year over year due to COVID-19 impacts realized in April 2020. Same-store revenues are anticipated to be down 1.5-2.5%. Also, it highlighted that write-offs related to COVID-19 are likely to improve by almost 100 basis points (bps) year over year in the second quarter. This reflects a significant rise on a sequential basis. Apart from these, no charges associated with COVID-19 will be incurred in the second quarter.
However, Aaron’s earlier withdrew its 2020 guidance citing unprecedented impacts from the outbreak. Moreover, sluggishness in franchisee revenues and the Aaron's Business segment is likely to continue.
Efforts to Counter COVID-19 Impacts & Other Hurdles
The company has been leaving no stone unturned to combat the COVID-19 hurdle. In this regard, it earlier withdrew $300 million from its revolving credit facility in a bid to strengthen the cash position. In April, the company paid $60 million in scheduled debt amortization and $175 million to satisfy its settlement with the FTC. Consequently, as of May 31, 2020, it had a cash balance of nearly $230 million, which indicates a jump from $90 million since Apr 30, 2020. Prior to this, it suspended share repurchases as part of its efforts to overcome headwinds related to COVID-19.
The Aaron’s business is progressing well with its transformational initiatives over the past few years. These initiatives are likely to bring the segment back to sustainable long-term growth in revenues and earnings, through investments in activities to improve customer experience, operating efficiencies, compliance and employee engagement.
All said, the upbeat second-quarter guidance is likely to have boosted investor’s sentiments. We note that shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 46.8% in the past three months against the industry’s decline of 0.2%.
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