Apparently, there has been a surge in the number of sharp-dressed men, particularly north of the border. Boosted by its acquisition of After Hours from Federated Department Stores
In the first quarter, Men's Wearhouse improved earnings by 49.1% to $40.9 million and pushed sales 14.2% higher to $496.1 million. These results led to investors pushing the stock price to new highs -- up more than 12% at this point. However, I think the Street may be getting a bit ahead of itself. Sure, the performance was great, but it was helped by the acquisition of After Hours, we're talking about one quarter, and not all the numbers were so stellar.
Excluding the benefit of the acquisition, earnings per share increased 26.4%. That is certainly still very good, but not quite as notable as 49% growth. Also, comps in the U.S. fell 1.3% when the company was expecting an increase of 1% to 2%. Picking up the slack, comps were up 5.8% north of the border as the number of shoppers and the amount they spent were both higher.
The happenings at Men's Wearhouse provide a perfect illustration of why comps are such an important metric when considering the performance of retailers. Because of the purchase of After Hours, management expects overall sales will be higher, so that accomplishment loses some value. However, comparing locations that were open in both time periods -- comps -- provides a more accurate reflection of the retailer's sales growth (or, decline in this case). OK, that's my spiel on the significance of comps.
The retailer now expects to earn $0.88 to $0.92 per share, with After Hours contributing $0.15 to $0.17 per share. For the year, it now expects to earn $2.84 to $2.94 per share, which should put it ahead of current estimates of $2.85 per share. However, it looks like the same worn-out suit is hanging on the rack in the comps department. U.S. numbers are projected to be flat or even down 1%. Canada should be better once again, with 3% to 5% growth expected.
In the end, it was a very good quarter for Men's Wearhouse, and the year should be equally strong. Its new tuxedo business should give it the growth spurt it needed and allow it to separate itself from Jos. A. Bank
For more on the suit sellers, check out:
- Jos. A. Bank's Scary Quarter
- Quick Take: Men's Wearhouse Dressed Down
- A Natty Quarter at Men's Wearhouse
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Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo welcomes feedback and doesn't own any of the companies in this article.