CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cato Corporation (NYSE: CATO) today reported sales of $87.9 million for the four weeks ended April 30, 2011, a 19% increase over sales of $74.1 million for the four weeks ended May 1, 2010. Comparable store sales increased 17% for the month.
Sales for the first quarter ended April 30, 2011 were $271.7 million, a 5% increase over sales of $259.8 million for the first quarter ended May 1, 2010. Comparable store sales increased 2% for the first quarter.
April sales were favorably impacted by the shift of Easter sales to April this year versus March last year, while March sales were unfavorably impacted. Because of this shift, the best measure for performance is the combined sales for the two months, which increased 3% overall and increased 1% on a comparable store basis.
"First quarter sales were above our expectations against a strong comparison in the prior year," said John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "With higher than expected sales, we now estimate first quarter earnings per diluted share will be in the range of $1.00 to $1.02 versus our previous guidance of $0.93 to $0.96 and $0.85 last year, as restated, an increase of 18% to 20% over last year."
The Company will release first quarter results on Thursday, May 19, 2011.
During the month of April, the Company opened two new stores and closed two stores including an It's Fashion store closed to open an It's Fashion Metro store in the same market. New stores opened in Valley, AL and Newnan, GA. Two of the Company's stores were significantly damaged in recent tornadoes and will be removed from the Company's comparable store base. As of April 30, 2011, the Company operated 1,282 stores in 31 states, compared to 1,272 stores in 31 states as of May 1, 2010.
The Cato Corporation is a leading specialty retailer of value-priced fashion apparel and accessories operating two divisions, "Cato" and "It's Fashion". The Company's Cato division offers exclusive merchandise with fashion and quality comparable to mall specialty stores at low prices every day. The It's Fashion division 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