By  on November 23, 2004

NEW YORK — Spurred by a post-election boost in high-end spending, Barneys New York Inc. delivered strong bottom-line results on robust sales for the third quarter, and chief executive officer Howard Socol has signed on for another three years.

The luxury specialty retailer’s net income jumped 4.7 percent on a 13.5 percent sales gain. The chain reported $4.3 million in income, or 28 cents a diluted share, for the three months ended Oct. 30, compared with $4.1 million, or 29 cents, in the same year-ago quarter.

Operating income rose 25.1 percent to $10.3 million compared with $8.2 million last year. Sales jumped to $126.9 million from $111.9 million, while same-store sales increased 12.5 percent. The comps gain came on top of an almost 8 percent increase in the same year-ago quarter.

The two investment firms that bailed Barneys from bankruptcy — Whippoorwill Associates and Bay Harbour Management — signed a deal on Nov. 12 to sell the luxury goods retailer to Jones Apparel Group for $400 million. The merger is to close at the end of the year.

“Based on our data here, people reported that sales were consistent in October, but we’ve also noted an increase in sales after the election,’’ Socol said. “Shoppers are definitely more buoyant now.”

Socol said, “November continues to be good. We’re on a nice roll. It’s going to be an exciting accessories year, with jewelry and handbags both very important,”

He said jewelry and handbags also will be key items for holiday purchases along with “all the fun stuff like mufflers and hats.” Socol expects strong sales of ponchos for gift giving, but acknowledged the trend might be winding down. In apparel, anything cashmere continues to be a strong “must-have” item.

The ceo said Barneys is on course to open three new Co-op stores around February or March in Atlanta, South Coast Plaza in California and in Lincoln Park in Chicago. He said another Co-op location may be added next fall. However, there aren’t any plans to open flagships next year.

“Flagships take a long time because the stores are that much bigger. If we open any, it won’t be until 2006 or 2007, as we also continue with our Co-ops rollout,” Socol said.

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