Conn’s Q4 Sales Sink 30% - Twice

Conn’s Q4 Sales Sink 30%

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BEAUMONT, TEXAS — Conn’s said price deflation and weak demand drove net sales down 30.3 percent to $171 million for its fiscal fourth quarter, ended Jan. 31.

The multiregional electronics, appliance and furniture chain also reported a 31.7 percent decline in same-store sales during the three-month period, which it attributed in part to tough year-over-year comparisons.

The company cited “more challenging economic conditions” in its markets compared with last year, when Conn’s also benefited from hurricane replacement sales, Circuit City’s dissolution, and an extra week of Super Bowl-related purchases during the 2009 reporting period.

Conn’s said its sales results were also impacted by its tightened credit underwriting standards, the closure of two outlet centers, and by reduced delivery charges and extended-warranty commissions due to fewer purchases.

Broken out by category, CE revenue declined 38.5 percent as a result of an 18.7 percent drop in unit sales of flat-panel TVs and declines in average selling prices.

Dollar sales of major appliances declined by 26 percent during the quarter on lower unit sales in all appliance categories, although average selling prices increased slightly,

Small CE and countertop appliance revenue declined 23 percent despite increased unit sales of laptop and desktop computers and the introduction of netbooks. Those gains were offset by declines in the average selling price of computers and reduced demand for other small electronic and appliance products located within the central “track” section of Conn’s stores.

The company also cited a 26 percent decline in furniture/mattress revenue.

For the full fiscal year, ended Jan. 31, net sales were $722.8 million, a decrease of $82.3 million, or 10.2 percent, while same-store sales decreased 13.8 percent for the 12 months.

Conn’s will report its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on March 25.

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