Cato Reports July Comp Store Sales Down 1%

2008-08-07 07:55:00

Cato Reports July Comp Store Sales Down 1%

                           Lowers 2Q EPS Guidance



    CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 7 /EMWNews/ -- The Cato Corporation

(NYSE: CTR) today reported sales of $62.1 million for the four weeks ended

August 2, 2008, an increase of 2% over sales of $60.7 million for the four

weeks ended August 4, 2007. Comparable store sales for the month decreased

1%.



    Sales for the second quarter ended August 2, 2008 were $231.0 million,

a 5% increase over sales of $219.0 million for the second quarter ended

August 4, 2007. Second quarter comparable store sales increased 2%.



    Sales for the first half were $456.7 million, an increase of 3% over

the prior year's first half sales of $443.1 million. Comparable store sales

for the first half were flat compared to first half 2007.



    "Our comparable store sales trend was lower in July than in the past

several months," commented John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief

Executive Officer. "We believe the benefit we have received from the

stimulus checks has begun to decrease. As part of our normal review of

store performance, we made the decision to close 47 underperforming stores

at the end of July. After accruing the costs of closing these stores and

incurring significantly higher medical expense, we now expect second

quarter earnings per diluted share to be in the range of $.40 to $.42

versus our previous guidance of $.42 to $.44 and $.39 last year."



    The Company will release second quarter results on Thursday, August 21,

2008.



    During the month of July, the Company opened 7 stores and closed 50

stores including three It's Fashion stores closed upon the opening of new

It's Fashion Metro stores. New stores opened in Montgomery, AL, Little

Rock, AR, Westwego, LA, Durham, NC, Augusta and Rock Hill, SC, and Tyler,

TX.



    During the first half, the Company opened 32 new stores and closed 63

stores. As of August 2, 2008, The Cato Corporation operated 1,287 stores in

31 states, compared to 1,306 stores in 31 states as of August 4, 2007.



    The Cato Corporation is a leading specialty retailer of value-priced

women's fashion apparel operating two divisions, "Cato" and "It's Fashion".

The Company offers exclusive merchandise with fashion and quality

comparable to mall specialty stores at low prices, every day. Additional

information on The Cato Corporation is available at http://www.catocorp.com .



    Statements in this press release not historical in nature including,

without limitation, statements regarding the Company's expected financial

results for the second quarter, are considered "forward-looking" within the

meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such

forward-looking statements are based on current expectations that are

subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that

could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by

the forward- looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited

to, the following: general economic conditions; competitive factors and

pricing pressures; the Company's ability to predict fashion trends;

consumer apparel buying patterns; adverse weather conditions and inventory

risks due to shifts in market demand. The Company does not undertake to

publicly update or revise the forward-looking statements even if experience

or future changes make it clear that the projected results expressed or

implied therein will not be realized. The Company is not responsible for

any changes made to this press release by wire or Internet services.





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