Business

Men’s Wearhouse now in pursuit of Jos. A. Bank

NEW YORK – Never say never – just when it looked like a potential combination of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank was dead in the water, the script has been flipped.

Men’s Wearhouse is now the one offering approximately $1.54 billion for its rival. Less than two weeks ago, Jos. A. Bank dropped a $2.3 billion bid for its competitor. A combination could create a menswear powerhouse of more than 1,700 outlets.

The announcement that Men’s Wearhouse was interested in a possible deal came as a bit of a surprise on Tuesday. The retailer had received an unsolicited offer of $48 per share from Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. in September. But it rejected that bid in October, calling it “opportunistic” and inadequate.”

Jos. A. Bank said Tuesday that its board will evaluate the offer and respond “in due course.”

Consumer confidence falls

WASHINGTON – U.S. consumers’ confidence in the economy fell in November to the lowest level in seven months, dragged down by greater concerns about hiring and pay in the coming months.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence dropped to 70.4 from 72.4 in October. The October reading was higher than initially reported, but still well below the 80.2 reading in September.

November’s drop comes after the 16-day partial government shutdown caused confidence to plunge in October. The declines in both months were driven by falling expectations for hiring and the economy over the next six months.

Some economists also attributed the weakening confidence to Americans’ frustrations and worries about the implementation of the Obama administration’s health care reform.

Tiffany’s 3Q tops forecasts

NEW YORK – Tiffany & Co.’s third-quarter net income climbed 50 percent, buoyed by strong sales in the Asia-Pacific region.

Its performance topped Wall Street’s expectations, and the luxury retailer on Tuesday raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast above analysts’ estimates. Shares climbed almost 8 percent trading on the news.

Tiffany’s is considered a barometer of luxury spending. The latest results show that the affluent continue to spend, bolstered by a stock market that is reaching new highs.

Chairman and CEO Michael Kowalski said in a statement that shoppers are responding well to its expanded fashion jewelry designs, which includes the Atlas collection.

Tiffany earned $94.6 million, or 73 cents per share, for the three months that ended Oct. 31. That compares with $63.2 million, or 49 cents per share, a year ago.

Banks earn less than year ago

WASHINGTON – U.S. banks earned less in the July-September quarter than they did a year earlier, marking their first year-over-year profit decline since the spring of 2009 when the country was still mired in the recession.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday that the banking industry earned $36 billion in the third quarter, down $1.5 billion or 3.9 percent from the third quarter of 2012.

The FDIC said the earnings decline came primarily from a $4 billion increase in litigation expenses at a single institution.

The FDIC did not name the institution, but the JPMorgan Chase & Co. reached a $4.5 billion settlement with investors earlier this month which was the latest in a series of legal settlements for the nation’s largest bank over JPMorgan’s sales of mortgage-backed securities in the year preceding the 2008 financial crisis.



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