- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

Shares of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. reached a 12-month high last week after the company announced that it more than tripled its earnings per share during the first quarter.
The stock hit a high of $24.93 Tuesday on Nasdaq surpassing its yearly low of $4.08 on Sept. 21. The stock closed at $20.70 Friday.
"The stock has had a dramatic run in the past several months," says Michael Via, analyst with Anderson & Strudwick. "Part of it is that traditional stocks hadn't been in vogue for the past year with the Internet craze. But now investors are focusing on companies with real earnings, and Jos A. Bank is beating expectations so they are being rewarded."
Analysts had expected Jos. A. Bank to earn about 16 cents per share for the first quarter, ended March 31.
Instead the company, of Hampstead, Md., reported net income grew a dramatic 239 percent to $1.73 million (25 cents per share) from $510,000 (8 cents) a year earlier. Meanwhile, net sales rose 18 percent to $55.76 million from $47.41 million.
The company also pleased analysts and investors by announcing its plan to open 23 to 25 new stores this year and another 30 the following year. Jos. A. Bank opened 21 new stores last year, mainly in malls and street-front shopping districts.
"They've done real well in comparable store sales mainly due to their product mix," says Preston Silvey, analyst with First Dallas Securities.
Established in 1905, Jos. A. Bank is a specialty retailer with a wide variety of men's products from tuxedos and suits to swimwear and shoes. The chain has 138 stores nationwide. Locally, two are in the District, 11 in Northern Virginia and nine in nearby Maryland suburbs.
Three of the stores to be opened this year will be local. One is coming soon to Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. The spots for two others are being negotiated, says David E. Ullman, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Jos. A. Bank.
"Our growth has been coming from additional profits from new stores and our Internet business, which has been doing extremely well," he says.
About 88 percent of Jos. A. Bank's business stems from its stores. The rest comes from Internet and catalog sales.
"This is another one of our strengths that a person can order from the Internet, but if something needs adjustment, or if it needs to be returned or exchanged, a person can go right into one of our stores and take care of it," Mr. Ullman says.
The company's direct competitors are Men's Wearhouse and Brooks Brothers, but it also faces competition from department stores.
Men's Wearhouse, which specializes in suits, also announced higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings last week. But analysts see Jos. A. Bank's growth as more stable because of the company's diverse product line.
"They've done well partly because they have a more diverse product like with their sportswear. The suit business has not been as good lately," Mr. Silvey says.
Suits account for about 28 percent of sales at Jos. A. Bank. Sportswear accounts for 20 percent and the rest is shirts, ties, and other accessories.

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