Sales at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., on an upward trend for most of the year, continued to rise in November despite a late start to the holiday shopping season, the company said yesterday.
The Hampstead-based men's apparel retailer reported that sales at its stores open more than a year were 3.3 percent above November 2001.
"November was particularly tough as far as the calendar is concerned because Thanksgiving came so late in the month," said Michael M. Via, an analyst at Anderson & Strudwick Inc. in Richmond, Va. "Usually there is an extra week after Thanksgiving before the end of the month. This year, the month ended on a Saturday, and there were only two shopping days after Thanksgiving."
Regardless, Via said, Bank continued to increase sales by taking market share from competitors. It logged a gain in comparable store sales, those open more than a year, while the others' sales sagged. For example, sales at Men's Wearhouse Inc., a chief competitor, dropped 6.3 percent
Bank reported that sales in general for the month increased 11.7 percent to $24.8 million, compared with $22.2 million in last year's corresponding period. Combined catalog and Internet sales increased 14 percent.
"Our sales were good in the stores and the catalog-Internet segments as customers continue to respond to the convenience of shopping from any three of our sales channels," Robert N. Wildrick, Bank's chief executive officer, said in a statement.
"We are particularly pleased with the 3.3 percent gain in comparable store sales, in light of the fact that there were seven less post-Thanksgiving shopping days in fiscal November compared with last year."
Officials were not available to comment yesterday. But Wildrick said in the statement that sales increases were led by suits, shirts and ties - the dressier items sold at the stores.
Bank continues to add stores. The company opened a store in Lancaster, Pa., last month, bringing the total opened this year to 25 stores. The chain has 160 stores in 30 states.
Shares closed yesterday at $25.18, down 1 cent.