For a company involved in boring, grandmotherly-type stuff like sewing and crafts, Jo-Ann Stores
Just look at the performance of Jo-Ann's stock price yesterday -- it will make your head spin like a thimble on a needle. During the day, the price jumped 11.2% higher. Then, after the market closed and management released its earnings report, the stock plummeted 5.7% lower. This one day of activity perfectly illustrates how the stock has performed for years. Based on what it had to say yesterday, I don't see that changing.
In the company's fiscal 2008 second quarter, Jo-Ann reported a loss of $18.4 million, or $0.76 per share. As sad as that is, it's actually an improvement over last year's loss of $21.2 million, or $0.90 per share. Unfortunately, analysts expected a much stronger patch, or a more modest loss of $0.66 per share.
Elsewhere, sales exceeded expectations, climbing 7% higher to $388.5 million. Same-store sales also improved 7%, though last year's 8.4% decrease made for an easy comparison. But gross margin fell 180 basis points as the company lowered prices to get rid of discontinued products.
Despite its apparent struggles, management feels confident about its strategic plans and its customers' improved shopping experience; the company raised its full-year outlook to a range of $0.60 to $0.70 per share. Facing easy comparisons for the remainder of the year, Jo-Ann should reach its goal of positive comps, though more specific guidance would have been nice.
I'm less confident about Jo-Ann than its management is. A company sporting a forward P/E in the 33 to 39 range needs to do more than improve on negative comps and earnings. Although its remodeled stores are a hit, I'd prefer to see a more consistent pattern of positive metrics. Until then, I'll be as involved in this company as I am in the annual quilting competition (you think there is such a thing?).
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