Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. (NYSE: JAS) reported today that net sales for the fourth quarter ended January 29, 2011, increased 3.6% to $624.1 million compared to $602.2 million for the same period last year. Same-store sales increased 2.0% versus a same-store sales increase of 4.4% for the fourth quarter last year. Customer transactions increased 1.1% and average ticket increased 0.9%. Severe winter weather negatively impacted same-store sales by approximately 0.8%. Large-format store net sales for the quarter increased 1.8% to $330.6 million compared to the same period last year. Same-store sales for large-format stores increased 0.7% compared with an increase of 3.1% in the fourth quarter last year. Small-format store net sales increased 4.6% to $277.6 million compared to the same period last year. Same-store sales for small-format stores increased 3.8% compared with an increase of 6.1% in the fourth quarter last year. Internet sales through Joann.com increased 29.3% to $15.9 million compared to the same period last year. Sewing same-store sales increased 1.8%. The company continued to experience positive trends in the majority of its fabric and sewing notions product categories. Non-sewing same-store sales increased 2.5% due to growth in both craft and seasonal products. Net sales for the fiscal year ended January 29, 2011, increased 4.4% to $2.079 billion versus $1.991 billion in the prior year. Same-store sales increased 3.5% for the fiscal year compared with a 3.1% increase last year. Fourth Quarter Conference Call The company will report earnings for its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2011 on March 9, 2011. In conjunction with the earnings release, investors are invited to listen to a pre-recorded earnings conference call to be broadcast over the Internet at 4:30 PM Eastern time. The earnings release will provide instructions on how to access the call. Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. ( www.joann.com) is the nation’s largest specialty retailer of fabrics and one of the largest specialty retailers of crafts, operating 751 stores in 48 states. Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Our actual results, performance or achievements may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties that could cause or contribute to such material differences include, but are not limited to, changes in general economic conditions, risks in implementing new marketing initiatives, natural disasters and geo-political events, changes in customer demand, changes in trends in the fabric and craft industry, changes in the competitive pricing for products, the impact of competitors’ store openings and closings, our dependence on suppliers, seasonality, disruptions to the transportation system or increases in transportation costs, energy costs, our ability to recruit and retain highly qualified personnel, our ability to manage our inventory, our ability to effectively manage our distribution network, disruptions to our information systems, failure to maintain the security of our electronic and other confidential information, failure to comply with various laws and regulations, failure to successfully implement the store growth strategy, changes in accounting standards and effective tax rates, inadequacy of our insurance coverage, cash and cash equivalents held at financial institutions in excess of federally insured limits, volatility of our stock price, damage to our reputation, and other factors. Other important factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements are discussed in the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
Additional Information and Where to Find ItThis communication may be deemed to be solicitation material in respect of the proposed merger of Jo-Ann with an affiliate of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. In connection with the proposed merger, Jo-Ann has filed a preliminary proxy statement with the SEC. When completed, a definitive proxy statement and a form of proxy will be mailed to the shareholders of the company. BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING DECISION, JO-ANN’S SHAREHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT REGARDING THE MERGER CAREFULLY AND IN ITS ENTIRETY BECAUSE IT WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED MERGER. Jo-Ann’s shareholders will be able to obtain, without charge, a copy of the definitive proxy statement (when available) and other relevant documents filed with the SEC from the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. Jo-Ann’s shareholders will also be able to obtain, without charge, a copy of the definitive proxy statement and other relevant documents (when available) by directing a request by mail or telephone to Jo-Ann Stores Inc., Attn: Corporate Communications, 5555 Darrow Road, Hudson, Ohio 44236, telephone: (330) 463-6865, or from the investor relations section of the company’s website, http://www.joann.com. Participants in Solicitation Jo-Ann and its directors and officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Jo-Ann’s shareholders with respect to the special meeting of shareholders that will be held to consider the proposed merger. Information about Jo-Ann’s directors and executive officers and their ownership of the company’s common stock is set forth in the proxy statement for Jo-Ann’s 2010 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 26, 2010. Shareholders may obtain additional information regarding the interests of Jo-Ann's directors and executive officers in the proposed merger, which may be different than those of Jo-Ann’s shareholders generally, by reading the definitive proxy statement and other relevant documents regarding the proposed merger when they become available.