By  on January 19, 2012

The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. has lifted its quarterly dividend 50 percent to 18 cents a share from its prior level of 12 cents.

The Houston-based men’s wear specialty store giant will pay the dividend on March 23 to shareholders of record March 13. The company last increased the amount one year ago, when it moved it up one third to 12 cents from 9 cents.

“Our goal is to deliver attractive growth and continued margin expansion while remaining dedicated to a balanced total shareholder return agenda,” said Doug Ewert, president and chief executive officer of the firm, noting that the increase “demonstrates our belief in our ongoing ability to generate strong and sustainable free cash flow, even in the current market environment.”

In the third quarter ended Oct. 29, the company’s profits rose 57.9 percent to $39.9 million, or 77 cents a diluted share, while its sales were up 6.3 percent to $584.6 million. Its cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter totaled $138.5 million, down from $197.8 million at the conclusion of the same period in 2010.

Shares of the firm Thursday fell 20 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $34.76 in New York Stock Exchange trading.

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