I was noticing the other day that there are a ton of Aaron's trucks out on the road, and it struck me that they have a pretty large number of stores around, too. Turns out, a lot more than I'd thought...nearly 2,000 of them! They own about 60% of their stores with the remaining 40% franchised to independent owners.
Aaron's leases out consumer electronics, appliances, furniture, and other fun and useful stuff to consumers and businesses on various rent-to-own (or not) plans. For some reason, I'd always imagined their staff including beefy thugs like the guys in The Full Monty (see image) who show up at the doors of delinquent customers to retrieve items for which payments are overdue.
After looking into it a bit more, it turns out that they're extremely generous in such situations, and have an excellent customer service rating. Their popularity is largely a result of their multitude of flexible payment options, which allow their customers to grab a piece of the dream while paying very low amounts over longer periods of time, and offering grace periods and such to keep them on the hook when hard times hit.
They've been downgraded by a few high-profile analysts recently, but their profit margin is up over the last 12 months and they show no signs of slowing down. Their share price has done remarkably well over the past year, swelling from $22.61 to around $30 during that period.
I've never been a customer myself, but I wouldn't mind jumping on board with their stock for a while.
(subtitled, PUT DOWN AND PISS OFF!)