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Jos. Bank hit by $2 million loss in quarter


The cost of change continued to take a toll on Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. as the company reported yesterday nearly $2 million in losses for the second quarter, due chiefly to the phasing-out of its line of women's wear.

The Hampstead-based catalog retailer and 83-store chain lost $1.99 million, or 29 cents a share, for the three months ended July 29. That compared with a loss of $345,000, or 5 cents a share, over the same period last year.

The negative numbers came as no surprise: After a loss of $4.2 million in the first quarter, Bank Chairman and Chief Executive Timothy F. Finley had cautioned that more red ink would follow.

Yesterday, Mr. Finley repeated the warning as the retailer continues to shed women's apparel and move into men's casual wear.

"We are going to be impacted [in the third quarter] because we won't be out of the women's business until the end of the year," he said. "So we're going to have to go through this again, but not at the magnitude we went through the first half of the year."

For the six months, Bank lost nearly $6.2 million, or 91 cents per share, compared with the first half of 1994 when the company earned $636,000, or 11 cents per share.

The cost of getting out of women's clothing -- driven by deep discounts and advertising the liquidation -- gouged Bank's bottom line, contributing about 87 percent of second-quarter operating losses and 78 percent for the half, Bank reported.

Bank also is absorbing the cost of launching its men's casual wear, including a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign. And the company still faces the general malaise plaguing the industry.

"Apparel has been bit hard," Mr. Finley said, "and we're no exception."

Nonetheless, the CEO remained upbeat, pointing to the company's lenders, who have extended Bank a more flexible line of credit of up to $40 million through mid-1997.

In addition, Bank announced it had hired a new top executive. David Ullman, a certified public accountant and former vice president-controller for Hanover Direct, a $750 million mail order firm based in Pennsylvania, was named chief financial officer. He replaced Matthew R. Kahn, executive vice president and chief financial officer, who left for family considerations, the company said.

Bank also has hired Melinda Setren as division merchandising manager for furnishings and sportswear and sportswear buyer Stephen Sanford.

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