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Conn’s Bounces Back From September Hurricanes

Beaumont, Texas — Operations at Conn’s have largely returned to normal in the wake of last month’s Gulf Coast hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the retailer reported.

The Texas and Louisiana-based consumer electronics and major appliances chain is also poised for an extended bump in sales as consumers replace products damaged in by storms, the company said.

All evacuated corporate staffers returned to headquarters by Sept. 22, and all stores were open for business since Sept. 25. The chain lost 144 store-days as a result of the hurricanes, while disruptions in its collection operations are expected to impact its credit portfolio “for a period of time,” the company said. However, the disruptions are being mitigated by the company’s new San Antonio, Texas collection center, opened last year, and higher staffing levels for its collection team. Both measures were prompted by the lessons of Hurricane Rita, which affected operations in 2005.

“Our employees responded to the challenge presented by the storms,” chairman/CEO Tom Frank said in a statement. “We have responded aggressively in our markets to drive sales volume in October and the early results have been positive. Though we do not anticipate experiencing the level of increases in the near-term that we saw after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we believe the positive impact on sales could last longer.”