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Cato expects Q3 EPS to be above previous guidance

07
Nov '08
The Cato Corporation reported sales for the four weeks ended November 1, 2008 of $59.5 million, an increase of 5% over sales of $56.9 million for the four week period ended November 3, 2007. Comparable store sales for the month increased 4%.

Sales for the third quarter ended November 1, 2008 were $179.8 million, a decrease of 1% from sales of $181.9 million for the third quarter ended November 3, 2007. Comparable store sales for the third quarter decreased 2% from the prior year.

Sales for the thirty-nine weeks ended November 1, 2008 were $636.6 million, an increase of 2% over sales of $625.0 million for the thirty-nine weeks ended November 3, 2007. The Company's year-to-date comparable store sales decreased 1% from the prior year.

"October comparable store sales benefited from cooler weather compared to last year," stated John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "Comparable store sales for the quarter were at the lower end of our expectations and business remains very difficult. We now expect third quarter earnings per diluted share to be slightly above our previous guidance range of ($.05) to $.00 versus $.09 last year. The better than expected estimated third quarter earnings per diluted share are primarily a result of the reversal of incentive compensation accrued during the first half of the year and tax benefits related to FIN48. Without these adjustments, estimated earnings per diluted share would be at the lower end of our previous guidance."

The Company will release third quarter financial results on Thursday, November 20, 2008.

During the month of October, the Company opened 10 stores, relocated two stores and closed two stores. New stores opened in Demopolis, AL, Pueblo, CO, Bushnell, FL, Americus, GA, Columbus, Greenwood, Hattiesburg and Jackson, MS, Batavia, NY and Center, TX. The relocated stores are in Paris, KY and Wilmington, NC.

Year-to-date the Company has opened 57 new stores, relocated four stores, and closed 70 stores. As of November 1, 2008, the Company operated 1,305 stores in 31 states, compared to 1,321 stores in 31 states as of November 3, 2007.

The Cato Corporation is a leading specialty retailer of value-priced women's fashion apparel 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.

Cato Corporation


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