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Jos. A. Bank earnings slip on costs related to takeover

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers saw its earnings slide in the fourth quarter as the menswear retailer attempted to fight off a takeover by Men's Wearhouse.

The Hampstead-based retailer ultimately succumbed, agreeing to a $1.8 billion merger with its larger rival in March.

For the quarter ended Feb. 1, Bank reported that it earned $27.4 million, down from $28.4 million in the comparable quarter a year earlier.

Earnings per share slipped to 98 cents from $1.01. Bank said legal and advisory costs related to the takeover battle reduced its earnings per share by 7 cents.

Sales, meanwhile, rose slightly to $356.1 million for the quarter, up from $354.8 million a year earlier.

Bank's stock was up slightly Tuesday afternoon to $64.24 per share.

R. Neal Black, Bank's president and CEO, said strong sales leading up to the holidays offset the impact of snow storms and cold on sales in January.

For the full 2013 fiscal year, Bank earned $63.3 million, down from $79.7 million the year before. Earnings per share slid to $2.24 from $2.86.

Full year sales also slipped to $1.03 billion from $1.05 billion, while profit for the year fell 20.5 percent to about $63.3 million. The company said in an SEC filing Wednesday that it spent about $4.4 million during the year for legal and other professional services related to its pursuit of both Men's Wearhouse and Eddie Bauer, a deal Bank backed out of when it agreed to be acquired by Men's Wearhouse.

Black said the new year is off the a good start.

"We have generated double-digit total sales gains in 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 non-promotional portion of our business," he said.

Bank, which opened 30 new stores in fiscal 2013, said in the SEC filing that it is on track to open about 30 to 37 new stores in the current fiscal year, including about 10 to 12 outlet stores, part of a goal to grow to about 800 U.S. stores. The chain has continued to open in less mature markets, such as western states.

The merger with Men's Wearhouse is expected to close later this year, creating a retail powerhouse with more than 1,700 stores.

If either company terminates the deal, seen as unlikely, termination fees would apply under the merger agreement. If Bank ends the deal because of a superior offer under certain circumstances, the retailer could be on the hook for $60 million. And under certain conditions, Men's Wearhouse would be required to pay bank $75 million if it ends the deal.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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