The Cato Corporation reported sales for the five weeks ended April 7, 2007 of $95.1 million, an increase of 13% over sales of $83.8 million for the five week period ended April 1, 2006. Comparable store sales for the month increased 7%.
Sales for the nine weeks ended April 7, 2007 were $160.0 million, an increase of 8% over sales of $148.0 million for the nine weeks ended April 1, 2006. The Company's year-to-date comparable store sales increased 4%.
March sales were favorably impacted by the shift of Easter to April 8 this year versus April 16 last year, while April sales are expected to be unfavorably impacted by this shift.
"March sales were below expectations due to the negative impact of record cold weather the week of Easter," stated John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "We now expect comp store sales to be in the range of down 1% to down 4% for the first quarter. Therefore, we have reduced our estimated first quarter earnings per diluted share range to $.70 to $.72, an increase of 8% to 11% over 2006 first quarter diluted earnings per share of $.65."
During the month of March, the Company opened three new stores and relocated three stores. The new stores opened in Purcell, OK, and Gainesville and Kilgore, TX. The relocated stores are in Cedartown, GA, Manning, SC, and Martinsville, VA. As of April 7, 2007, the Company operated 1,281 stores in 31 states, compared to 1,249 stores in 31 states as of April 1, 2006.