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Fashion retailer Cato bang on Dec sales target

Jan '06
Women's fashion apparel specialty store Cato Corporation reported sales for the five weeks ended December 31, 2005 of $104.3 million, a 3 percent increase over sales of $101.4 million for the five weeks ended January 1, 2005.

Comparable store sales for the month decreased 2 percent.

Sales for the eleven months ended December 31, 2005 were $767.5 million, an increase of 6 percent over sales of $724.3 million for the eleven months ended January 1, 2005.

The Company's year-to-date comparable store sales increased 1 percent.

"December sales were within their estimated range," commented John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.

"They remain comfortable with their estimated fourth quarter earnings per diluted share range of $.28 to $.30 versus $.26 last year, an increase of 8 percent to 15 percent.

For the year, earnings per diluted share are estimated to be in the range of $1.32 to $1.34 versus $1.11 last year, an increase of 19 percent to 21 percent."

During the month of December, the Company opened nine new stores, relocated one store, and closed seven stores.

The new stores were in Kissimmee, Florida, Macon, Georgia, Washington, Illinois , Lafayette, Indiana , Roseville, Michigan , Columbus and Massillon, Ohio , Oklahoma City, Oklahoma , and Copperas Cove, Texas.

The relocated store was in Greenville, Tennessee .

The Company has seven stores that remain closed from 2005 hurricanes. Of these seven stores, five are expected to open early this year and two are expected to remain closed for an indefinite period of time.

As of December 31, 2005, the Company operated 1,234 stores in 31 states, compared to 1,168 stores in 29 states as of January 1, 2005.

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 offers exclusive merchandise with fashion and quality comparable to mall specialty stores at low prices, every day.

Cato Corporation

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