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Jos. A. Bank Reports Sales Improvement

The men's wear retailer bounced back from a soft fourth quarter with robust sales increases in February and March.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. bounced back from a soft fourth quarter with robust sales increases in February and March.

After generating a comparable-sales increase of 9.1 percent between Nov. 3 and Dec. 24, the company was hit by the inclement weather and slow traffic that characterized the latter part of the fourth quarter for many retailers, reducing comparable-sales gains for the three months to 1.8 percent.

“We have generated double-digit total sales gains in the fiscal February and the first four weeks of fiscal March of 2014, reflecting positive consumer response to our promotions as well as ongoing strength in the nonpromotional portion of our business,” said R. Neal Black, president and chief executive officer. “We are focused on maintaining this sales momentum while improving our profitability.”

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In the quarter ended Feb. 1, the company, which has agreed to be acquired by its larger competitor The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. for $1.8 billion in cash, generated net income of $27.4 million, or 98 cents a diluted share, 3.6 percent below the $28.4 million, or $1.01, reported for the same period in 2012. Excluding special items, including costs related to the Men’s Wearhouse acquisition, adjusted earnings per share were $1.07, identical to the consensus estimate of analysts.

Revenues rose 0.4 percent to $356.1 million from $354.8 million, and increased 4.7 percent when the effect of the 14th week in the final quarter of 2012 was eliminated. Gross margin fell to 55.6 percent of sales from 55.9 percent, while operating income paralleled the earnings performance, declining 3 percent to $44.4 million.

Black credited “the combination of our improved marketing efficiency through our new promotional strategies and strict financial discipline” for the improvement in adjusted EPS.

For the full year, the Hampstead, Md.-based specialty chain’s net income declined 20.5 percent to $63.3 million, or $2.26, from $79.7 million, or $2.84, in 2012. Revenues slid 1.6 percent to $1.03 billion from $1.05 billion.

The company continues to expect consummation of the Men’s Wearhouse acquisition before the start of the third quarter of the fiscal year.