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Jo-Ann swings to loss

HUDSON, Ohio -- Hobbled by a combination of swollen stockpiles and lower-than-expected sales, fabric and crafts retailer Jo-Ann Stores Inc. swung to a third quarter loss of $4.1 million from a year-before profit of $6.9 million.

Sales at the specialty chain rose 5.8 percent, to $474.2 million, mostly from new store openings. Same-store sales grew at a slower pace of 0.7 percent.

Not only did sales come in beneath expectations, the company had built its merchandise stockpiles sharply higher, expecting stronger results. Inventories grew almost four times as fast as sales during the period, rising 23.4 percent, to $654.1 million from $530.2 million, costing the retailer $123.9 million.