Formal clothing chain Men's Wearhouse Inc on Wednesday posted a better-than-expected 28 per cent jump in fourth quarter profit from the year-ago period as it was boosted by a rise in net sales.

The Texas-based operator of nearly 700 stores reported net income of $19.9 million versus $16.3m in 2001 with net sales up 1.1 per cent to $390.1m from $385.7m but same-store sales down 2.9 per cent in the US and 5.4 per cent in Canada.

For the full year, the retailer said net profit fell to $42.4m from $43.3m with net sales up 1.7 per cent to $1.29 billion from $1.27bn for 2001. US and Canadian comparable store sales slipped 3.1 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively.

CEO George Zimmer commented: "Fiscal 2002 was an important transition year for our company as we worked on multiple initiatives to leverage our brand and position us for growth.

"As a result, our suit unit comparable trends are strong, our tuxedo rental revenues tripled in 2002, and our value proposition contributed to increased margins late in the year."