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Jos. A. Bank Tops Estimates

And fiscal third-quarter sales climb 10%.
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Updated from 11:03 a.m. EST

Suit purveyor

Joseph A. Bank


gained ground Thursday after issuing spiffy results for the fiscal third quarter.

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The Hampstead, Md., company said earnings soared 28.8% from a year earlier to $7.1 million, or 38 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for just 33 cents a share.

Revenue was up 9.9% year over year to $131.3 million, which met Wall Street expectations. Comparable-store sales, or those from locations that have been open for a year or more, rose 3.1% from a year ago. In a conference call, Chief Financial Officer David Ullman said comps were driven "almost exclusively" by average dollars earned per transaction.

Luxury items now constitute one-quarter of total sales, up four percentage points from last year, Chief Marketing Officer R. Neil Black said.

Black also noted that unseasonably warm weather during the quarter pulled down sales of sweaters and other heavy fabrications, but a strong showing from dress suits "more than offset" those numbers. Furthermore, sales from Black Friday and the following weekend were "very strong and very encouraging."

CEO Robert Wildrick, however, warned that December sales have been "somewhat sluggish" thus far. He also voiced concern on the weakening consumer economy, among other negative broad market trends, while still expressing confidence that the company is "very well positioned to gain market share profitably," regardless of the difficult environment.

Shares closed $1.05, or 4.1%, higher at $26.65.