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Furniture, mattress sales boost Conn's sales 37.6% in recent quarter

BEAUMONT, Texas — Furniture and mattresses were the fastest growing category for Conn's in the latest quarter, with sales up 37.6% to $27.7 million, the Beaumont-based specialty retailer reported.

Total retail segment sales for the 65-store company in the quarter ended Jan. 31 were $189.5 million, up 4.2% from the same quarter a year earlier. Same-store sales benefited from store closures completed during 2012, as other locations picked up some of the business, and were up 12.1%, the company said.

Furniture and mattresses are Conn's third largest category, behind consumer electronics and home appliances.

"The growth in furniture and mattress sales was driven by enhanced displays and product selection, and increased promotional activity, resulting in a 20.2% increase in unit sales of furniture and mattresses, combined with a 16.2% increase in the average selling price," the company said.

Consumer electronics sales in the period fell 15.4% to $76.8 million. The company said that was mainly because TV sales fell 30.6%, and the average selling price rose 23.4%, as Conn's decided not to compete for low-priced, low-margin business during the quarter - and specifically not on Black Friday.

Home appliance sales grew 15.6% to $44.8 million.

"Despite weakness in the consumer market for televisions, we were pleased to deliver double digit same-store sales growth for the second quarter in a row," said CEO Theodore Wright. "In addition to the same-store sales increase, we also increased our retail segment gross margin percentage by 500 basis points, or 21%."

The company will discuss its earnings and operating performance for the quarter in a conference call April 3.

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