Jo-Ann Stores Inc. (JAS) is hiring for the holidays and saw a jump in third quarter same-store sales. Analysts expect earnings per share growth in 2010 of 170.26%. Even with the massive growth, the company is trading with a PEG ratio of just 0.99.

Jo-Ann Stores operates 750 fabric and craft stores in 48 states and through its web site,

Seasonal Hiring Climbed by 18.1%

On Nov 10, the company announced that it had hired 2779 seasonal employees which would be 13.4% of its total workforce. That’s up from last year’s holiday season when seasonal employees only accounted for 11% of the workforce. Jo-Ann Stores said the increase was due to recent sales trends and expectations for holiday traffic in the stores.

Jo-Ann Preannounced Third Quarter and Raised Full-Year Guidance

On Nov 5, the company reported third quarter sales had risen 6% to $509.1 million from $480.1 million in the year ago period. Same store sales climbed 4.3% compared with a 1.5% decrease in the third quarter of 2009. Store traffic rose 4.9% but the average sales ticket fell 0.6%.

Jo-Ann said it saw continued strength in its fabric and sewing notions categories. Seasonal merchandise and custom framing continued to be the weak categories.

Given the strong sales results, the company projected its third quarter 2010 earnings in the range of 88 to 90 cents which is more than double the 40 cents in the year ago quarter.

Jo-Ann Stores also sharply raised its full year guidance to the range of $1.95 to $2.05 from $1.35 to $1.50 per share.

Zacks Consensus Estimates Soar

Analysts scrambled to raise estimates to match the company’s higher guidance. The fourth quarter Zacks Consensus Estimate leapt to 89 cents from 46 cents in the last week.

The 2010 Zacks Consensus Estimate jumped 38% to $2.05 from $1.49, which is at the high end of the company’s guidance range.

The 2-Year Chart

Jo-Ann Stores’ stock has been hot. The Zacks #1 Rank (strong buy) is trading at a new 52-week high. It is expected to report fiscal third quarter 2010 results on Dec 2.

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