Jos. A. Bank expects to double profit this quarter

Men's clothing chain predicts earnings will rise to 14 cents a share

October 26, 2001|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. expects to double its earnings per share in the third quarter, exceeding the chain's expectations, the Hampstead retailer said yesterday.

Bank, a men's tailored-apparel chain with 128 stores, said it expects earnings per share to rise to at least 14 cents for the quarter ending Nov. 3, compared with 7 cents per share reported for the third quarter of 2000.

Such an increase would give Bank its third straight quarter of record earnings. Bank is to report its third-quarter earnings Nov. 19.

The expected gain in earnings is being driven by increased sales of suits and casual apparel and by reduced costs of buying goods, which have boosted margins, officials said.

Robert N. Wildrick, chief executive officer, attributed the sales increase - at a time when most retailers' sales have been flat or off from the previous year - to the improved quality of the products sold.

"Our sales in the past three weeks continue to increase," Wildrick said. "Assuming we have no unforeseen events beyond our control, I believe we have much upside as we finish the third quarter and continue into the fourth quarter."

The company is on track to beat last year's earnings of 80 cents per share, said David E. Ullman, an executive vice president and chief financial officer.

"We have all the parts of our business working," including the stores, catalog and Internet, Ullman said. "We are exceeding our expectations for the quarter, and we expect continued upside in the fourth quarter."

The company has improved the look and distribution of its catalog, Ullman said.

The chain has also seen an increase in suit sales as more companies have returned to dressier attire.

But most of the sales increase has come from Bank's sportswear, as the company has broadened its assortment, Ullman said. Sales of leather coats, golf wear, outerwear and sweaters have been strong sellers, he said.

Shares of Jos. Bank rose 30 cents to close at $6.80 yesterday.

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