Cato Reports April Same-Store Sales Down 6% Reaffirms 1Q EPS Estimate

CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cato Corporation (NYSE: CATO) today reported sales of $84.9 million for the four weeks ended April 28, 2012, a 3% decrease from sales of $87.3 million for the four weeks ended April 30, 2011.  Same-store sales decreased 6% for the month.

Sales for the first quarter ended April 28, 2012 were $272.8 million, a 1% increase over sales of $270.9 million for the first quarter ended April 30, 2011.  Same-store sales for the first quarter decreased 2%.

April sales were unfavorably impacted by the shift of a portion of Easter sales to March this year versus April last year, while March sales were favorably impacted.  Because of this shift, the best measure for performance is the combined sales for the two months, which increased 2% overall and were flat to the prior year on a same store basis.

"April sales and the combined sales for March and April were in line with expectations," stated John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.  "We continue to expect first quarter earnings per diluted share will be in the range of $1.04 to $1.09 versus $1.04 last year, flat to an increase of 5% over last year."

The Company will release first quarter results on Thursday, May 17, 2012.

During the month of April, the Company opened two stores, relocated one store and closed one store.  New stores opened in Columbus, NE and Rockwall, TX and the relocated store was in Hammond, LA.   As of April 28, 2012, the Company operated 1,293 stores in 31 states, compared to 1,282 stores in 31 states as of April 30, 2011.

The Cato Corporation is a leading specialty retailer of value-priced fashion apparel and accessories operating three concepts, "Cato", "Versona" and "It's Fashion".  The Company's Cato stores offer exclusive merchandise with fashion and quality comparable to mall specialty stores at low prices every day.  Versona is a unique fashion destination offering accessories and apparel including jewelry, handbags and shoes at exceptional prices every day.  It's Fashion offers fashion with a focus on the latest trendy styles and nationally recognized urban brands for the entire family at low prices every day.  Additional information on The Cato Corporation is available at 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 first 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.

SOURCE The Cato Corporation



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