NEW YORK — Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp.’s earnings dropped 2 percent in its third quarter, but the firm said that its apparel business is continuing to gain momentum. For the three months ended Feb. 28, net income fell to $36 million, or 81 cents a diluted share, from $36.7 million, or 82 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Concurrently, sales rose 7 percent, to $856 million, and were up 1.7 percent on a same-store basis. Robert LaPenta, vice-president and chief accounting officer, said on a conference call that the firm’s outerwear business began to strengthen with the arrival of cold weather in late November, but “we couldn’t make up what was lost in October and November on a year-to-date basis.” He also observed a “trading down” in average price points due to both lower prices and a shift toward jackets from coats.
For the nine months, net income dropped 26 percent to $46.1 million, or $1.03 a share, from $62.2 million, or $1.40. Burlington Coat operated 341 stores in 42 states at the end of the quarter.
— Arnold J. Karr