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Jo-Ann tightens seasonal strategy

Hudson,OhioJo-Ann Stores is revamping its lagging seasonal business with new buying practices and a more meaningful merchandise mix.

“We’ve implemented new seasonal buying disciplines to improve sell-through rates, reduce markdowns, and ensure that we never again carry over seasonal merchandise from one year to the next,” Darrell Webb, chairman, president and ceo said during the retailer’s third-quarter earnings conference call late yesterday.

The 814-unit chain bought 27.5% less merchandise for the Halloween and fall selling periods. “We made the decision to walk away from unprofitable seasonal sales,” Webb explained. Jo-Ann’s seasonal merchandise team is preparing a collection of merchandise with “more consistent taste and quality,” he said.

Net earnings for the third quarter were $0.1 million, compared with a net loss of $4.1 million in the prior year third quarter. Net sales dropped 2.6% to $461.9 million from $474.2 million in the prior year. Same-store sales decreased 5.4% for the quarter.

The shopping experience is also top of mind; entrances and aisles have been cleared and new cleaning standards introduced. Jo-Ann is also investing “a great deal of time and energy” toward improving its in-stocks on basic merchandise, and is rolling out new radio headsets to its 172 superstores for better customer service.

Jo-Ann will reduce its new store openings for next year to six, all of which will be set in an updated format featuring wider aisles, lower fixtures, improved sight lines, better signage, and other enhancements.

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