For the fourth quarter ended January 31, Conn’s, Inc. reported that comparable store sales rose about 33.4% from the same period last year. Preliminary retail segment net sales gained 44.8% over the prior-year quarter to a $301.6 million.
Based on preliminary results, Conn’ stated that it expects to generate diluted earnings per share of between 76 cents and 81 cents for the fourth quarter, including a net benefit of approximately one cent per diluted share associated with facility closures. After excluding the benefit, Conn’s expects adjusted diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter to range between 75 cents and 80 cents, figures which fall below the level anticipated in previously issued full-year fiscal 2014 guidance, the company pointed out. The decline reflects the impact of increased provision for bad debt due to higher-than-expected accounts receivable charge-offs and delinquency rates in December and January, and portfolio growth.
In comments on the financial results, Theodore Wright, Conn’s chairman and CEO, remarked, “Our revised earnings guidance for fiscal 2014 of an adjusted $2.59 to $2.64 per diluted share is an increase of approximately 60% from the prior year. Our retail performance was outstanding for the fourth quarter and full year. We achieved our target of 40% retail gross margin for the quarter and realized significant operating leverage. Newly opened stores are performing well and contributing to profitability.”