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Jo-Ann pushes productivity

Hudson, OH — Now with 72 superstore units in its portfolio, Jo-Ann Stores will continue to roll out the 35,000-square-foot format over the next few years, executives said during the company's fourth quarter conference call earlier this week.

The larger format generated 25 percent of revenues last year, with the balance from its 840 traditional stores.

Fourth quarter sales at the nation's largest fabric retailer rose by 5.5 percent, to $525.8 million from $498.2 million, despite the closing during the year of more than 40 stores. Same-store sales climbed even faster, rising by 6.9 percent. Fourth-quarter profits climbed up by more than a third, to $25.3 million from $18.9 million last year

Looking ahead, Jo-Ann said it's forecasting lower same-store sales growth during the first half of the year, but growth of 2 percent to 4 percent for all of 2003 as business picks up during the second half. About 20 new stores will be opened during the year, and about 20 others closed.

This year, sales growth will be modest due to the 40 fewer stores, Rosskamm said. It will be a year of transition to strengthen operations.

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