By Clare Baldwin HONG KONG (Reuters) – A state-owned Chinese retail chain has suspended sales of elephant ivory after a series of high-profile seizures of smuggled ivory in Hong Kong and protests by conservation groups drew growing attention to the trade. Chinese Arts & Crafts suspended sales of elephant ivory at its stores in China and Hong Kong beginning in mid-March, it said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters late on Tuesday. “Due to the adjustment of product mix, Chinese Arts & Crafts (H.K.) Ltd has suspended the business of selling (elephant) ivory products at all Chinese Arts & Crafts branches,” it said. The World Wildlife Fund ranks China as the world’s biggest end-market for illegal elephant ivory and animal rights groups say demand there is fuelling a surge in poaching in Africa.