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Profits Advance at Jo-Ann Stores

A successful first quarter was driven by craft textiles at Jo-Ann Stores, the 573-unit fabric and craft retailer said during its recent earnings call.

Craft textiles and quilting were singled out specifically as two of four businesses — the others being sewing notions and food crafts — that "drove our sales growth" during the period, said Darrell Webb, chairman, president and ceo.

Net earnings for the quarter were $3.0 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, vs. a net loss of $1.7 million, or 7 cents loss per share in the same period one year ago.

Sales rose 5.2% to $446.1 million, while comps scored a 1.8% increase.

James Kerr, evp and cfo, elaborated, "We continue to experience positive same-store sales in the majority of our fabric and our sewing notions merchandise categories."

Jo-Ann's sewing business represented 52% of the chain's first-quarter sales volume and increased by more than 8% on a same-store sales basis. However, Jo-Ann's non-sewing business, at 48% of first quarter sales volume, came in flat on a comp basis.

On the real estate front, Jo-Ann's plan is to open 20 to 23 new stores — an increase from the originally expected 12 to 15 stores — during the current fiscal year (2009). Store closings are slated at approximately 30 units, also up from a planned 25.

Related to this is the remodeled store schedule, which calls for 25 to 30 units during fiscal 2009. Five of these sites are smaller format stores that are being modified into larger Jo-Ann prototypes.

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