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Men's Wearhouse says weighing options for K&G unit

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Men's Wearhouse Inc. posted a larger-than-expected loss for its fiscal fourth quarter on Wednesday due to weak sales, but it announced plans to explore the possible sale of one of its weaker performing units. The news sent shares of the retailer up 13 percent in after-hours trading.

The company, based in Houston, owns the Men's Wearhouse, Moores and K&G clothing chains where it sells men's suits and accessories. Many of its K&G stores also carry a full selection of women's clothing as well. The company also operates a uniform and workwear business in the U.S. and U.K.

Men's Wearhouse said that it believes that its strength lies primarily in its namesake and Moores men's brands. It said it has hired Jefferies & Co. to evaluating strategic alternatives for its K&G operations, so it can better focus on those core businesses.

The company is trying to refine its business due to weak sales, as consumers have become more selective about where they spend money.

Men's Wearhouse President and CEO Doug Ewert said that the company's fourth-quarter started out with an unprecedented decline in sales volume in November. While things improved over the remainder of the quarter, the economy remained tough on its customers.

The company lost $3.4 million, or 7 cents a share, for the quarter that ended Feb. 2. In the same period a year earlier, it lost $3.8 million, or 7 cents a share.

Its revenue rose 8 percent to $608.4 million.

Revenue from Men's Wearhouse stores, which make up the bulk of its sales, increased 9.1 percent.

Analysts had forecast a loss of 5 cents a share in the most recent quarter on revenue of $610 million, according to FactSet.

The company said it expects to earn between $2.70 and $2.80 a share in its current fiscal year. Analysts are forecasting $2.77 a share.

Men's Wearhouse also said that its board has approved a new share buyback program of $200 million. The company had $45 million remaining under a prior repurchase program and this adds an additional $155 million.

The company's stock was up $3.83 to $32.90 in extended trading.