As part of its accelerated store opening plans, Jos A Bank Clothiers Inc says it expects to open 17 new stores in the next 90 days, increasing its store base to 160. The company opened 21 new stores last year, will open 25 new stores in 2002 and expects to open at least 30 new stores next year.

"These new stores will enable us to continue increasing market share," said Robert N Wildrick, CEO of the men's wear retailer. "Our objective is to grow the company at the fastest rate possible while maintaining a fiscally conservative balance sheet. The new stores will be another factor that positions us to continue to increase profit in the second half of 2002 and beyond."

Most of the 25 new stores to be opened in 2002 will be in existing store markets the company said in a statement.

Recent research carried out by Jos A Bank indicates it can operate up to 500 stores across the country in its current format.

If positive trends continue, the company expects to increase the velocity of new store openings for next year. The company opened 8 new stores in the first half of 2002.