Jos. Bank stock slips 13.9% on soft sales

December 02, 2005|By TRICIA BISHOP | TRICIA BISHOP,SUN REPORTER

Shares of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. dropped sharply yesterday after the menswear chain announced a smaller-than-expected increase in sales. Two investment firms also downgraded the Hampstead company's stock.

Jos. A. Bank reported yesterday morning that last month's same-store sales rose 3.8 percent over November last year. Same-store results are from outlets open at least a year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected an increase of 7.4 percent, causing the company's stock to tumble $6.95, or 13.9 percent, to close at $43.06. That made it the fifth biggest percentage decliner on the Nasdaq stock market. Trading was more than six times the typical volume.

After the report was released yesterday, Variant Research Corp. of Florida downgraded Jos. A. Bank stock to "neutral" from "buy" and Ryan Beck & Co. of New Jersey downgraded it to "market perform" from "outperform."

Beck has shifted between the two rankings since initiating coverage of Jos. A. Bank in May 2004.

Jos. A. Bank's same-store sales increase, however, was higher than that reported by many other big chains yesterday.

Target Corp.'s sales rose 2.6 percent while November same-store sales fell at Gap Inc. and at Federated Department Stores Inc., which is converting Hecht's and other chains it owns into Macy's.

Wal-Mart's same-store sales rose 4.3 percent in November, matching analyst estimates.

The century-old Jos. A. Bank, which has 316 stores in 39 states and the District of Columbia, announced an increase in total sales for November, rising 16.1 percent to $41.9 million from $36.1 million in the month a year ago.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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