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Cato maintains merchandise margin during Q3
22
Nov '11
The Cato Corporation reported net income of $6.1 million for the third quarter ended October 29, 2011, compared to net income of $5.9 million, as restated, for the third quarter ended October 30, 2010, an increase of 4%. Earnings per diluted share for the third quarter were $0.21, compared to $0.20 last year, as restated, an increase of 4%. Sales for the third quarter ended October 29, 2011 were $194.1 million, a 2% decrease from sales of $198.2 million for the third quarter ended October 30, 2010. Same-store sales for the quarter decreased 3%.

For the nine months ended October 29, 2011, the Company earned net income of $54.7 million, compared to net income of $47.9 million, as restated, for the nine months ended October 30, 2010, an increase of 14%. Earnings per diluted share were $1.86 compared to $1.62 last year, as restated, an increase of 14%. Sales for the nine months ended October 29, 2011 were $699.1 million, a 1% increase over sales of $689.1 million for the nine months ended October 30, 2010. Year-to-date same-store sales decreased 1%.

For the quarter, the gross margin rate decreased to 35.2% versus 35.9% last year primarily due to higher occupancy costs related to store development. The SG&A rate for the quarter decreased to 29.6% from 30.6% last year primarily as a result of lower accrued incentive compensation. The Company's effective tax rate for the third quarter was 31.4% vs. 32.0% last year.

Year-to-date, the gross margin rate decreased to 38.6% versus 39.3% last year primarily due to higher occupancy costs related to store development. The year-to-date SG&A rate was 25.7% versus 27.7% last year primarily due to lower accrued incentive compensation and insurance costs. The year-to-date effective tax rate decreased to 35.4% vs. 36.1% last year.

"Our third quarter same-store sales decrease reflects the continuing difficult economic situation facing our customers," stated John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "During the quarter, we maintained merchandise margin and controlled costs while benefiting from lower accrued incentive compensation.

"However, due to our current same-store sales trend, we now expect fourth quarter earnings per diluted share will be at the lower end of our original guidance of $0.32 to $0.35 versus $0.37 last year, as restated. For the year, earnings per diluted share are estimated to be in the range of $2.18 to $2.21 vs. $2.00 last year, as restated, an increase of 9% to 11%."

During the third quarter, the Company repurchased over 330,000 shares and has repurchased over 440,000 shares year-to-date. The Company has approximately 1.9 million shares remaining under its share repurchase authorization.

Year-to-date, the Company has opened 23 new stores, relocated three stores, and closed 13 stores, seven of which were closings of It's Fashion stores to open It's Fashion Metro stores in the same market. The Company now expects to open approximately 38 stores during 2011 as compared to its previous guidance of 41 stores. As of October 29, 2011, the Company operated 1,292 stores in 31 states, compared to 1,281 stores in 31 states as of October 30, 2010.

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.

The Cato Corporation

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