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First Cash reports record revenue and profit in first quarter

Arlington-based First Cash Financial Services, a operator of pawn shops and payday lending facilities with sizable operations in Mexico, said it had record revenues and profits in the year's first three months. It earned $20.3 million, up 16 percent from a year ago, on revenues of $161 million, up 19 percent. Earnings per share amounted to 68 cents, also a record. Among pawn stores open at least a year, revenue was up 9 percent overall -- 15 percent in Mexico and 2 percent in the United States. The gains came despite a decline in gold prices, which affects proceeds on jewelry transactions.  Revenue on payday loans, which is less than 8 percent of the company's revenue, was down 1 percent.

First Cash said it added 22 stores in the quarter, all but one in Mexico. As of march  31 it had 559 Mexico stores and 277 U.S. stores. It said it expects to open 75 to 85 new locations in 2013, mostly in Mexico and all of them large-format pawn stores. CEO Rick Wessel said retail sales of pawned merchandise topped expectations, which outstanding pawn loans grew 29 percent from a year earlier.

-- Jim Fuquay


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