Jos. A. Bank's earnings up 45% in fourth quarter

Record year tops analysts' estimates

March 18, 2003|By William Patalon III | William Patalon III,SUN STAFF

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. reported yesterday a 45 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit, capping a record year that exceeded analysts' estimates.

Net income in Bank's fiscal 2002 fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 1, was $6.4 million, up 45 percent from the $4.4 million earned in the comparable period the year before, the company said. Net income per share was 89 cents, up increase of 27 percent, from 70 cents reported for the corresponding quarter in 2001.

Sales were $77.9 million, up 15.8 percent, from $67.3 million reported for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001, the company said.

The Hampstead-based company announced Wednesday that earnings for all fiscal 2002 would well exceed analysts' expectations. Although the fourth-quarter sales figure was already known, one analyst said profits were 10 cents a share higher than Wall Street anticipated because of a better-than-expected profit margin during that three-month period.

"I was pleasantly surprised with the gross [profit] margins in the fourth quarter," said Michael M. Via, director of research for Anderson & Strudwick, an investment firm based in Richmond, Va.

Bank wants to have 500 stores within three to five years. It has 166 now and will open three more in the next week.

For all of last year, net income soared 68 percent, to a record $10.9 million, compared with $6.5 million in fiscal 2001. Net income was a record $1.55 per share, a boost of 48 percent, from the $1.05 per share in the previous year.

Before last week's notice that profits would beat Wall Street forecasts, the consensus analyst estimate was that Bank would report fiscal 2002 profits of $1.42 per share.

Sales also set a record in 2002, ending the year at $243.4 million, up 15.4 percent from the $211 million reported for all of 2001.

Bank's stock dropped 10 cents per share yesterday to close at $23.05.

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