Jo-Ann Stores Inc, a leading retailer of fabrics and crafts, on Tuesday posted a 74 per cent leap in fourth quarter earnings, compared to the year-ago period.

The Ohio-based company, which operates around 1,000 stores, said in a statement seasonal net sales rose slightly to $498.2 million, while earnings grew to $23m, or $1.22 a share, compared to $13.2m, or 72 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Same-store sales grew more than seven per cent.

It added it expects a "break-even to modest profit" in the first quarter, compared with a loss of 35 cents a share in 2001 and expects same-store sales to increase by at least four per cent.

For fiscal 2002, it forecast earnings of 80-85 cents a share, with same-store sales up around four per cent.