Jos. A. Bank expects drop in 1Q earnings per share

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. expects first quarter earnings of 27 cents to 30 cents per diluted share, down from 53 cents per share in the first quarter of 2012, the Hampstead-based retailer said Monday.

Sales for the quarter that ended May 4 dipped 3 percent, with unseasonably cool weather hurting spring business, the company said.

The men's apparel seller was able to control expenses and improve advertising efficiency but had higher inventory sourcing costs during the quarter, the company said. The chain also had lower average product prices because of more sales on winter clearance merchandise, said CEO R. Neal Black.

Black, who also serves as Bank's president, noted that online sales and other direct marketing performed well, with double digit sales increases.

"Despite the slow start to the new year, the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 will still be profitable," he said in a statement.

The retailer plans to focus this fiscal year on boosting gross margin rates and advertising productivity, Black said.

"As such, we will continue to test, evaluate and refine our merchandising and advertising offerings," he said in the statement.

In one move to respond to demand, the 606-store chain said it is introducing new casual apparel and more slim-fit suit selections.

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