Aaron's cuts close to 60 corporate jobs in Cobb

Atlanta-based Aaron’s says it laid off close to 60 people from its metro Atlanta corporate headquarters last week.

The rent-to-own company, which has been struggling to regain foot traffic in its stores since the end of the recession, said the move was necessary to “achieve greater efficiency in our expenses” as it faced continued revenue pressures.

The positions came from the company’s offices in Cobb County’s Galleria area, Kennesaw and Marietta.

“As we mentioned during the second quarter earnings call in July, core business results were mixed in the quarter,” CEO John Robinson said in a statement on Tuesday. “During the quarter, the business showed some positive trends; however, revenues were pressured. Given these challenges, we’ve taken action to realign our expense structure in our Store Support Centers.

“We made every effort to avoid directly impacting associate jobs, but after close evaluation, have eliminated fewer than 60 positions,” Robinson said. “These decisions are never taken lightly and this process is something that we tried to avoid. However, we are focused on strengthening the business for the long term. We believe these efforts best support our business strategy and will strengthen Aaron’s for the future.”

The company said it has offered the employees severance packages, but did not provide further details.

The retail sector has struggled to regain its footing since the recession’s end in 2011. While the stock market has rebounded and unemployment has dropped nationally to 4.9 percent, retail growth has been sluggish or non-existent for most of the sector.

Aaron’s sales fell 5.4 percent to $485.5 million in the second quarter of this year compared to $513.1 million during the same period in 2015, the company said in July.

Same-store revenues at company-operated locations decreased 1.2 percent during the second quarter and foot traffic dropped 1.1 percent.

In July, Aaron’s also announced it had sold its HomeSmart division. The stores sold for a reported $35 million in cash.