Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. on Wednesday reported a 26.1 percent increase in third-quarter profits, exceeding analysts’ consensus estimate by 9 cents.

 

In the three months ended Oct. 31, the Hampstead, Md.-based men’s specialty chain generated net income of $11.7 million, or 63 cents a diluted share, versus a profit of $9.3 million, or 50 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had expected earnings per share of 54 cents in the quarter, according to Yahoo Finance.

 

Quarterly sales grew 8.1 percent, to $161.3 million from $149.3 million, and rose 3.3 percent on a same-store basis. Without specifying a dollar amount, the firm, which operates 474 stores in 42 states, said direct marketing sales were up 21.2 percent in the quarter.

 

Gross margin declined to 62.5 percent of sales from 63.2 percent in the year-ago quarter.

 

“Despite the continued pressure we are facing from the difficult national economy, our business model is performing very well,” said R. Neal Black, president and chief executive officer. “With this quarter’s results, we have achieved earnings growth in 32 of the past 33 quarters when compared to the respective prior-year periods, including 14 quarters in a row.”

 

Sterne Agee retail analyst Margaret Whitfield reiterated her “buy” rating on the stock with a $60 price target. “Traffic and items per transaction rose, while overall transaction values declined,” she wrote in a research note. “Suits generated strong unit growth while dress shirts, sportswear and other tailored clothing grew more modestly.”

 

Shares rose $1.12, or 2.6 percent, to $43.92. Their 52-week range is $17.25, reached last Dec. 8, to $48.92, hit on Sept. 22.

 

For the year to date, net income picked up 27.5 percent to $35.7 million, or $1.93 a diluted share, from $28 million, or $1.52, in the first nine months of 2008. Net sales increased 9.7 percent, to $491 million from $447.4 million, as same-store sales rose 4.6 percent and direct marketing sales expanded 7.4 percent.

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