Cato declares dividend of 5 cents per share

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Women's clothing and accessories company Cato is declaring a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share.

The retailer said Friday that the dividend will be paid on March 25 to shareholders of record on March 11.

In December Cato announced that it would pay a special $1 dividend that month and move up its 2013 payment of $1 to December because of the expected tax rate increase in 2013.

The Charlotte, N.C., company said Friday that the 5 cents per share dividend, when coupled with the 2013 payment of $1 that was moved up to December, is a 20 percent increase from the regular dividend paid last year.

Cato had cut its fourth-quarter earnings guidance last month after a key revenue figure dropped 12 percent in January. The company now expects fourth-quarter earnings of 27 cents to 29 cents per share, down from 35 cents per share in the same period last year. It was the second time it has cut its guidance. In January the company lowered its outlook to 34 cents to 36 cents per share from 38 cents to 42 cents per share.

Cato Corp. had 1,310 stores in 31 states as of Feb. 2.

Its shares finished at $25.66 on Thursday.