Given the economic "new normal," more and more people might become crafty "makers" instead of the voracious "consumers" they were before the economic crisis. Jo-Ann Stores
Jo-Ann Stores, which was founded in 1943, provides fabrics and crafts supplies. It's a huge segment. According to the Craft & Hobby Association, 56% of American households participated in such activities in 2009, and the market opportunity represents $30 billion in annual sales. Jo-Ann attempts to drive additional sales and lure loyal repeat customers through initiatives like craft classes, as well as having a workforce that is strong on crafting enthusiasts.
Jo-Ann Stores competes with several specialized retail names, like A.C. Moore
Jo-Ann Stores has been solidly profitable and increasing sales for several years. In the fiscal year ended January 2010, its sales increased 4.7% to $1.99 billion and earnings hit $2.51 per share. It also has a stellar balance sheet, with $126.1 million in cash, and no debt. So, its market cap of $1.2 billion is more than 10% cash.
Conversely, publicly traded rival A.C. Moore has struggled with dwindling sales and profitability over recent years. In the fiscal year ended January 2010, its sales dropped 12.3%, to $468.9 million and it posted a loss of $1.15 per share. Its market cap is currently just $60 million.
Granted, A.C. Moore is a smaller company overall, with around 135 stores focusing on the East Coast, compared to Jo-Ann Stores' national presence with 746 stores in 48 states. Still, the comparison shows Jo-Ann Stores is a stronger stock, and with a PEG ratio of 0.8, it looks like a bargain, too.
With so many Americans worried about the economy and their own livelihoods, a backlash against rampant bubble-driven consumerism could make life tough for many retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond