The Woodlands, Texas — Conn’s reported an 11.5 percent increase in total retail net sales in December, to $132.4 million, but comp store sales were flattened by plummeting tablet demand.
Total comps edged up 0.5 percent for the multiregional furniture, appliance and CE chain, reflecting a 58.7 percent plunge in tablet comps. Excluding the home office category, total comps would have increased 5.2 percent, the company said.
Weakness within the tablet and computer category also tripped up hhgregg, which reported a 6 percent decline in holiday-quarter comps on Tuesday.
Conversely, Conn’s CE and majap comps both increased 7.5 percent, with higher average selling prices (ASPs) for electronics more than offsetting declines in unit volume. TV comps were “up slightly,” chairman/CEO Theo Wright said, and Ultra HD models comprised more than half (51.1 percent) of all TV sales.
Furniture and mattresses, which had driven the company’s sales resurgence in recent years, saw comps rise a modest 3.8 percent, and sales of extended service contracts declined along with home office sales, where attachment rates are traditionally the highest, Conn’s said.
In contrast, gaming comps increased sharply due to greater availability compared to Holiday 2013, when new platforms were launched and inventory was tight.
Wright said the company experienced isolated product shortages due to the port strike in California, but managed to mitigate supply chain disruptions by laying in higher inventory.
Conn’s comps were also impacted approximately 5 percent to 7 percent by tighter consumer finance underwriting, the company said, which was implemented in response to rising credit delinquencies and defaults.
The action improved 60-plus-day delinquency rates in December by 30 basis points over November, chairman/CEO Theo Wright reported.
Conn’s December sales slowed from November, when total net retail sales increased 19.4 percent, to $122.7 million.
The company presently operates 91 stores across 11 states from Colorado to the Carolinas.