Apparel maker and marketer Hartmarx said third-quarter and year-to-date earnings were down, hurt by mid-priced men's sales falls caused by consolidation in the mainstream department store sector.

Net earnings were US$$490,000 in the third quarter compared to $6.6m a year ago while quarterly net sales were $137.7m compared to $152.1m in the same period last year.

Nine-month earnings totalled $7m compared to $16.2m last year while sales were $434.5m compared to $441.7m in 2005.

Chairman and CEO Homi B Patel said: "The actions we are taking to curtail or discontinue certain lines are exacerbating the negative impact this year, but we believe will position the company for a significant earnings recovery in 2007.

"We are committed to reducing sales to the mainstream department store channel from 27% of total revenues in 2005 to roughly half of that in 2007. At the same time, we continue to look for opportunities to redeploy those assets."

Hartmarx has made recent acquisitions aimed at reducing its dependence on the mainstream department store channel and has also been working to reduce both mainstream department store channel.

The company expects fourth-quarter earnings per share of between eight cents and ten cents and sales of about $156.5. It has lowered full-year guidance to a profit prediction of 28 to 30 cents per share and sales of about $590m.