Men's Wearhouse today announced net earnings of $10.3m, or $0.25 per diluted share, for the quarter ended August 4, 2001, compared to net earnings of $16.0m, or $0.38 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. For the year to date, net earnings were $23.0m, or $0.55 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $29.4m, or $0.70 per diluted share, in the previous year.

Sales for the quarter were $297.2m compared with $294.5m for the same period a year ago, an increase of 0.9 per cent. US comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 5.6 per cent while Canadian comparable store sales increased 9.0 per cent. For the year to date, sales increased 3.3 per cent over the prior year to a total of $601.8m. US comparable store sales for the six months decreased 4.9 per cent while Canadian comparable store sales increased 8.8 per cent.

"Although our Canadian stores showed strong comparable sales increases for both the quarter and year to date, the continued US consumer restraint in apparel spending resulted in less than expected sales for our Men's Wearhouse and K&G brands," commented George Zimmer, chairman and chief executive officer. "This in turn caused our earnings to fall below the levels achieved in the comparable prior year periods. However, our business fundamentals remain strong, as does our profitability. We will continue to expand the square footage of our existing stores, to add new stores and to expand our merchandise offerings."

Regarding the company's outlook for the remainder of the year, Zimmer said, "While we cannot predict what economic changes will occur, we do believe that the general softness in US apparel sales will likely continue through the third quarter of 2001 and possibly through the end of the year.

"We also believe that our business will begin to experience an improvement in the second half of the year as compared to the first half predicated on an increased demand for tailored clothing, particularly for the fall season.

"Accordingly, we expect that our third quarter earnings performance will reflect an EPS range of $0.32 to $0.35, while our fourth quarter performance will show modest improvement over our prior year results in a range of $0.92 to $0.96. Fiscal year 2001 estimates are then in the range of $1.80 to $1.87.

"We have and will continue to focus on managing our advertising, payroll costs and inventory levels, but believe any significant deviation from these earnings estimates will depend primarily on comparable store sales results.''