The Woodlands, Texas – Growth in furniture, mattresses, IT and higher-priced appliances sent Conn’s net sales up 8 percent and comp sales ahead 12.6 percent for its fiscal third quarter.
Net sales topped $167 million for the three months, ended Oct. 31, while retail gross margin was up 970 basis points to 35 percent, the multiregional chain reported.
“We delivered our fifth straight quarter of double-digit, year-over-year same-store sales growth,” noted chairman/CEO Theo Wright. “The expansion of our furniture and mattress business and improved sales mix across all categories increased our retail gross margin.”
Broken out by category, CE comp sales were down “only 3 percent despite continued industry headwinds,” Wright said. The decline was due primarily to a shift away from promotionally priced TVs and smaller screen sizes, as well as previous store closures. Comp sales of TVs with screen sizes of 50 inches or greater increased in units and dollars, the retailer said.
In addition, higher tablet sales and a 28 percent increase in the average selling price (ASP) of computers sparked a 27.5 percent comp gain for the home office category. The increase was partially offset by the impact of previous store closures, lower computer unit volume, and fewer accessory sales.
Meanwhile, majap comps increased 6.4 percent thanks to a 24.4 boost in ASPs and despite a 17.4 percent decline in unit volume. Previous store closures caused approximately one-quarter of the unit sales decline. Broken out by product category, laundry comps rose 14.9 percent, refrigeration comps increased 3.6 percent, and cooking comps increased 24.7 percent, although milder temperatures drove a 26 percent decline in room air comps.
The biggest quarterly comp gainer was furniture and mattresses, up 34 percent thanks to enhanced presentation and product selection and increased promotional activity. Furniture same-store unit sales increased 16.4 percent and ASPs rose 15.2 percent. In contrast, mattress ASPs rose 41.6 while unit volume slipped 5.4 percent, driven by a shift to a higher price-point assortment.
The company will report its full third-quarter earnings results on Dec. 3.