Texas oil boom leads to retail boom

While many retailers struggle, Conn's posted record sales. Jim Cramer finds developments curious.

The company's latest earnings showed that net income more than doubled to $24.4 million for the three months, ended Oct. 31, on total revenue of $310.9 million, a 51 percent increase.

"The number was much better than expected," Cramer said.

Adjusted to remove one-time charges, the company reported earnings of 71 cents per share. Analysts expected earnings of 64 cents per share, according to Fact Set.

The results are all the more curious because Conn's sells home appliances, furniture mattresses, televisions and computers.

Many other stores that sell similar merchandise talked about how difficult the environment had become.

But not Conn's. Furniture sales jumped 95 percent in the quarter from a year, computer sales rose 78 percent and tablet sales rose 70 percent. Mattress sales rose 40 percent.

"I think something is going on here that's too big to ignore," Cramer said.

The preponderance of Conn's stores are located in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and other Texas cities that are near or in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford shale, areas that hold vast amounts of newly accessible oil and gas deposits.

Cramer doesn't think that's a coincidence.

Cramer believes that earnings from Conn's confirms something he's been saying for quite some time – that the opportunities presented by the energy revolution will ultimately generate significant prosperity.
It should not be too surprising when truck drivers are making $100,000 a year servicing the rigs and the drilling.  The furniture sales are somewhat surprising since many of these workers are in "man camps" or have purchased RV's and pickup trucks.  But, the electronic purchases make a lot of sense for people who have limited time for other forms of recreation.


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