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From Home Furnishing Business

Conn’s Projects Same-Store Sales Decline Due to Hurricane

Retailer Conn’s Inc. (NASDAQ: CONN), which is based in the Houston suburb of The Woodlands, Texas, and has numerous stores in the state, said same-store sales for the quarter ending Oct. 31 are likely to be down 5% to 9% due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

The retailer said it lost about 100 sales days in August and September, and also experienced reduced store traffic during the period. However, the company said it started to see improving sales trends in mid-September, as its southeast Texas stores benefitted from rebuilding activities.

October same-store sales in markets impacted by the hurricane are up more than 15%, the retailer said.

"Current business trends indicate that Hurricane Harvey's impact on third quarter results will be limited, reflecting the resiliency of our business model and the value we provide customers,” said Norm Miller, chairman, president and CEO. “I remain encouraged by the long-term direction we are headed and continue to anticipate full-year profitability for fiscal year 2018."

Conn’s tightened underwriting requirements for its struggling credit division about a year ago, and Miller noted that same-store sales trends also are showing improvement in markets not affected by the hurricane.

In addition, the requirement that all in-house credit customers have property insurance has insulated the company's net exposure to credit losses from Hurricane Harvey, as well as provided protection for customers, Miller said.

"Conn's has been part of the Texas community for over 125 years, and I am extremely proud that we are helping support our employees, customers, friends, and neighbors as they rebuild from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Conn's has raised over $500,000 in donations for impacted employees and local Texas charities," Miller added.

The retailer said it will announce complete financial results for the quarter in early December.

Conn’s sells furniture, bedding, appliances and consumer electronics at 116 stores in 14 states.

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