Jos. Bank reports narrowed operating losses Clothier is looking to acquire another retailer

April 25, 1996|By Alec Matthew Klein | Alec Matthew Klein,SUN STAFF

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. continued to close the gap to profitability, reporting yesterday $200,000 in fourth-quarter operating losses in menswear -- its smallest loss in the year.

And in case Bank needs more breathing room, the retailer has obtained a $40 million loan extension from its bankers through April 1999.

But they may not need that time. In a sign of optimism, Bank is still pursuing the acquisition of another retailer. "We're actively looking at five or six opportunities right now," said Bank Chairman Timothy F. Finley.

With the injection of sales from an acquired retailer, Bank hopes that fiscal 1996 will be a year of growth. Fiscal 1995 was a year of cutbacks: For the year ended Feb. 3, Bank absorbed $6.7 million in operating losses -- but most of that came early on. In the first quarter, the Hampstead-based retailer reported $3.9 million in operating losses; in the second quarter, $1.6 million; in the third quarter, $1 million.

"Our trends are good and that's continuing this year," Mr. Finley said.

The operating losses did not reflect several nonrecurring charges that ate into Bank's bottom line. The company reported charges of $4.4 million for the quarter and $8.8 million for the fiscal year due to the elimination of its line of women's wear, the start-up of men's sportswear and the closing of three stores this year and three stores projected next year.

In addition, the charges reflect the cost of relocating and downsizing some stores that no longer carry women's wear, a line that accounted for about 28 percent of store space.

After including nonrecurring charges, Bank reported a net loss of $5 million, or 73 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, compared with net income of $600,000, or 9 cents a share, over the corresponding period last year.

For the year, Bank reported a net loss of $13.2 million, or $1.94 a share, compared with net income of $1.3 million, or 22 cents a share, last year.

But, in a show of improvement, Bank's sales in men's clothing rose 3.3 percent for the fourth quarter, to $44.6 million. And sales in stores open at least a year -- a key industry gauge -- jumped 6.7 percent for the quarter.

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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