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Cato 4Q net income falls, costs and expenses rise

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Cato's net income declined 22 percent in its fourth quarter and the women's clothing retailer warned that foul weather is likely to dampen sales early this year.

The company sees another tough year ahead because of difficult economic conditions.

Cato earned $7.9 million, or 27 cents per share, for the period ended Feb. 2. That's down from $10.1 million, or 35 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total costs and expenses rose to $221.4 million from $208.7 million.

Revenue increased 5 percent to $234.6 million from $224.3 million.

Revenue at comparable stores dropped 7 percent.

Cato's full-year net income fell 5 percent to $61.7 million, or $2.11 per share, from $64.8 million, or $2.21 per share, in the previous year.

Annual revenue edged up 1 percent to $944 million from $931.5 million.

Revenue at stores open at least a year declined 4 percent.

The Charlotte, N.C. company foresees 2013 earnings between $1.64 and $1.93 per share. It predicts first-quarter earnings of $1.03 to $1.14 per share.

Cato Corp. anticipates full-year revenue at stores open at least a year will be down 1 percent to 3 percent. The retailer expects the figure to drop 2 percent to 4 percent in the first quarter.