Cato Reports March Comp Store Sales Up 2%; Comfortable with First Quarter Earnings Estimate

Apr 12, 2001, 01:00 ET from The Cato Corporation

    CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 12 /PRNewswire/ --
     The Cato Corporation (Nasdaq: CACOA) today reported sales of $63.1 million
 for the five weeks ended April 7, 2001, a 7% increase over sales of
 $58.8 million for the five week period ended April 1, 2000.  Comparable store
 sales for the month increased 2%.
     Sales for the nine weeks ended April 7, 2001 were $114.2 million, an 8%
 increase over sales of $105.7 million for the nine weeks ended April 1, 2000.
 The Company's year-to-date comparable store sales increased 3%.
     March sales were impacted by the shift of Easter to April 15 this year
 versus April 23 last year.  The combined sales for March and April will be the
 best measure for evaluating performance year-over-year.
     "Unseasonably cool weather in the first four weeks of March had a negative
 impact on sales," said John Cato, President, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive
 Officer.  "In the last week, with more seasonal weather, we saw strong
 positive response to our merchandise offering.  Our inventory is on plan and
 our assortment remains fresh.  We remain comfortable with our previously
 communicated earnings estimate of $15.4 million in net income and
 $.58 earnings per share for the first quarter."
     During the month of March, the Company opened seven new stores, relocated
 one store and closed one store.  The Company plans to open four stores in
 April.  These stores will be located in Hot Springs, AR; Lake Mary, FL;
 Stephenville, TX; and Bartlesville, OK.  As of April 7, 2001, the Company
 operated 869 stores in 23 states, compared to 817 stores as of April 1, 2000.
     The Cato Corporation is a leading specialty retailer of value-priced
 women's fashion operating two divisions, "Cato" and "It's Fashion!".  The
 Company offers private label merchandise with fashion and quality comparable
 to mall specialty stores at low prices, everyday.  Additional information on
 The Cato Corporation is available at www.catocorp.com.
 
     Statements in this press release not historical in nature 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.
 
 

SOURCE The Cato Corporation
    CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 12 /PRNewswire/ --
     The Cato Corporation (Nasdaq: CACOA) today reported sales of $63.1 million
 for the five weeks ended April 7, 2001, a 7% increase over sales of
 $58.8 million for the five week period ended April 1, 2000.  Comparable store
 sales for the month increased 2%.
     Sales for the nine weeks ended April 7, 2001 were $114.2 million, an 8%
 increase over sales of $105.7 million for the nine weeks ended April 1, 2000.
 The Company's year-to-date comparable store sales increased 3%.
     March sales were impacted by the shift of Easter to April 15 this year
 versus April 23 last year.  The combined sales for March and April will be the
 best measure for evaluating performance year-over-year.
     "Unseasonably cool weather in the first four weeks of March had a negative
 impact on sales," said John Cato, President, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive
 Officer.  "In the last week, with more seasonal weather, we saw strong
 positive response to our merchandise offering.  Our inventory is on plan and
 our assortment remains fresh.  We remain comfortable with our previously
 communicated earnings estimate of $15.4 million in net income and
 $.58 earnings per share for the first quarter."
     During the month of March, the Company opened seven new stores, relocated
 one store and closed one store.  The Company plans to open four stores in
 April.  These stores will be located in Hot Springs, AR; Lake Mary, FL;
 Stephenville, TX; and Bartlesville, OK.  As of April 7, 2001, the Company
 operated 869 stores in 23 states, compared to 817 stores as of April 1, 2000.
     The Cato Corporation is a leading specialty retailer of value-priced
 women's fashion operating two divisions, "Cato" and "It's Fashion!".  The
 Company offers private label merchandise with fashion and quality comparable
 to mall specialty stores at low prices, everyday.  Additional information on
 The Cato Corporation is available at www.catocorp.com.
 
     Statements in this press release not historical in nature 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.
 
 SOURCE  The Cato Corporation