Posted 3/3/2014 12:00 am
Yes, helpful tipsters, we saw the stock price of Conn’s Inc. plummet a couple of weeks back, when the Houston-area retailer of appliances and electronics lowered its earnings guidance.
And yes, we realize that Little Rock’s Stephens family — Warren Stephens and his cousins Witt Stephens Jr. and Elizabeth Stephens Campbell — and Jon Jacoby are major shareholders in Conn’s.
We understand that the value of the Stephenses’ holdings in Conn’s dropped by a couple hundred million dollars, which seems rather extreme considering the top-end guidance was lowered by less than 10 percent.
Especially since the company’s same store sales were up 33.4 percent in the fourth fiscal quarter.
But selling on credit in the current environment is risky, and it was delinquencies that sent Conn’s stock from the mid-$50s to the low $30s. That’s what happens, Conn’s suggested, when people have to choose between their heating bill and the bill for the big-screen TV.
So yes, Whispers is aware.
But this isn’t the first time a Stephens investment has gone for a wild ride. And we rather doubt any of the above will be missing a meal, or a heating bill.
In the immortal words of Sam Walton, “It’s only paper.”