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Men's Wearhouse narrows 4Q loss

HOUSTON (AP) -- Clothing chain Men's Wearhouse said Wednesday that it narrowed its fourth-quarter loss from the year before as it cut costs and boosted prices. The results beat forecasts, and the company said it expects 2012 income to be higher than expectations.

Its shares rose slightly after hours, adding to gains of about 2 percent during normal trading. While the 2012 outlook was higher than expected, the outlook was dampened by predictions that its profit in the current quarter will miss expectations.

Men's Wearhouse specializes in suits and formal wear for men. The company said that it sold fewer items in each store than during the same period a year before. But it offset that stagnation by raising its prices. That pushed overall sales in its retail segment up 6 percent, the company said.

The company also rents tuxedoes, and it rented more in the most recent quarter than it did a year earlier.

During the quarter that ended Jan. 28, Men's Wearhouse reported a net loss of $3.8 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $14.1 million, or 27 cents per share, a year earlier.

Its revenue was $562.2 million, up from $542.1 million.

The company reported adjusted net income of 5 cents per share, excluding one-time items like acquisition costs, compared with 19 cents per share a year earlier.

Analysts expected a much steeper adjusted loss of 13 cents per share, according to FactSet. Revenue was slightly lower than the $563.2 million analysts expected.

The company also offered a higher proportion of higher-profit goods. That increased the gross profit margin by 11.2 percent to $224.9 million in the quarter, compared with $202.2 million a year earlier.

For the full fiscal year, the company expects to earn net income between $2.70 per share and $2.78 per share. Analysts were expecting net income of $2.64 per share for the year, according to FactSet.

For the company's fiscal first quarter, Men's Wearhouse expects net income between 53 cents and 54 cents per share, while analysts' on average were expecting 62 cents per share, according to FactSet.

The company said first-quarter profits will be hurt in part by higher costs like payroll expenses and marketing costs.

The shares rose 2 cents to $40.20 after hours. In regular trading, they gained 86 cents, or 2.2 percent, to close at $40.18.