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Women's fashion apparel retailer Cato reaffirms Q1 guidance

Apr '08
The Cato Corporation reported sales for the five weeks ended April 5, 2008 of $89.2 million, a 6% decrease from sales of $95.1 million for the five week period ended April 7, 2007. Comparable store sales for the month decreased 9%.

Sales for the nine weeks ended April 5, 2008 were $156.4 million, a 2% decrease from sales of $160.0 million for the nine weeks ended April 7, 2007. The Company's year-to-date comparable store sales decreased 4%.

March sales were unfavorably impacted by the shift of Easter to March 23rd this year versus April 8th last year, while April sales are expected to be favorably impacted by this shift. More specifically, the soft sales week following Easter shifted to March this year compared to April last year.

"In addition to the Easter shift, March sales were impacted by the current retail environment," stated John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "We remain comfortable with our estimated first quarter earnings per diluted share range of $.49 to $.55, a decrease of 17% to 7% from first quarter 2007 diluted earnings per share of $.59."

During the month of March, the Company opened four stores and closed five stores. The new stores opened in Louisville, KY, Rome, NY, Coweta, OK, and Blythewood, SC. As of April 5, 2008, the Company operated 1,320 stores in 32 states, compared to 1,281 stores in 31 states as of April 7, 2007.

Cato Corporation

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