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PLANO, TX-Revenue from new and acquired stores and a 3.6% increase in same-store sales helped drive up profits for rent-to-own retailer Rent-A-Center with net income reaching $25.2 million, or 36 cents a share, a more than two-fold increase from the $11.3 million, or 15 cents a share, earned during the third quarter of 2005.

The nation’s largest rent-to-own company, which operates 2,751 locations, said profits were helped by the third quarter addition of nine new stores, 10 acquired stores and the purchase of accounts from 15 other locations.

Overall sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose slightly by 2.4% to $587.2 million from $573.5 million in the year ago period, but sales at stores open at least a year were up 3.6%. The company said the higher comparable store sales helped offset the loss from stores that were closed or sold in 2005, including stores affected by hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

Mark E. Speese, Rent-A-Center’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the increase in same store sales was primarily the result of changes in the firm’s promotional activities as well as the number of units available for rent. “The overall tone of the business remains positive,” Speese said in a conference call with analysts and investors. “All in all, it was a solid quarter, and I believe we are well positioned for the balance of the year.”

Speese said the firm plans to close on its acquisition of Rent-Way, the nation’s third largest rent-to-own firm with 782 stores, after a meeting of Rent-Way shareholders on Nov. 14. About 150 of Rent-Way’s stores will be closed by the end of January, he said.

The company also announced that it expects fourth quarter earnings to be 46 cents to 50 cents per share based on revenue of $586 million to $594 million. For fiscal 2007, earnings were expected to total $2.24 to $2.32 per share based on expected revenue of $2.42 billion to $2.45 billion.

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