Mar 8, 2012
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Men's Wearhouse forecasts weak 1st-qtr

Mar 8, 2012

Men's Wearhouse Inc's quarterly revenue missed analysts' estimates and the retailer forecast lower-than-expeced sales for the current quarter, hurt by a plunge in sales of shirts, trousers and other apparel to corporate customers.

The company expects first-quarter revenue to increase 2 to 2.5 percent, which works out to about $592 million to $594.9 million. Analysts were looking for $603.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Men's Wearhouse, which rents out one in every three tuxedos in the United States and Canada, said corporate apparel sales are expected to fall 15 percent to 16 percent in the quarter, as the company takes more time to introduce new products in its U.S. and UK markets for corporate customers.

The company, however, posted a narrower-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter, as lower product costs boosted margins.

Men's Wearhouse, which competes with JoS A Bank Clothiers Inc and Perry Ellis International Inc, expects a first-quarter profit of 53 cents to 54 cents a share. Analysts were looking for 62 cents a share.

Fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $3.8 million, or 7 cents a share, from $14.1 million, or 27 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding items, it posted a loss of 5 cents a share.

Sales rose 4 percent to $562.2 million.

Analysts, on average, had expected a loss of 13 cents a share on revenue of $563.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Gross margins rose to 40 percent from 37.3 percent in the year-ago period.

Shares of the company, which have risen about 27 percent through 2011, closed at $40.18 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Chris Jonathan Peters in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)

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