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HAMPSTEAD, MD-Men’s clothing retailer JoS. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. posted an 18% gain in third quarter earnings and said it may raise its guidance for the remainder of the year based on the strong quarterly showing.

The locally based clothing chain, which operates 371 stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia, posted net income of $5.5 million, or 30 cents per share, for the quarter ended Oct. 29 compared to $4.7 million, or 26 cents per share for the same period of 2005. Sales for the quarter were also up by 13%, rising to $119.5 million from $105.6 million in the third quarter last year. Same-store sales were up 2.3% during the three-month period.

The company attributed much of the strong sales growth to the 52 new stores opened since the beginning of the year. The retailer, which plans to open 40 to 60 stores next year, said an internal analysis showed that the company could expand to 500 or more stores.

David Ullman, the company’s chief executive officer, said in a conference call that he expects sales volume to build as the firm enters the busy shopping season and indicated that the company may raise its guidance based on a better than expected 9.6% increase in sales during November. Earnings for fiscal 2006 are currently expected to be $1.95 per share.

For the first nine months of 2006, net income reached to $18.3 million from $16.7 million for the same period a year earlier while per share earnings rose 8% to $1. The company said sales for the first three quarters were up 17.1% to $352.3 million from $300.8 million while comparable store sales rose 5.6%; and combined catalog and internet sales jumped 21.6%.

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