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Cato's June Comps Improve Marginally

Zacks Equity Research

Charlotte, N.C.-based retailer of apparel and accessories for women, Cato Corporation (CATO) reported a 1% rise in comparable-store sales (comps) for the 5-week period ended Jul 6, 2013. This compares favorably with a 10% decline in comps reported in Jun 2012. Net sales for June increased 3% to $86.1 million from $83.7 million in the year-ago period.

Of late, Cato’s comps have been plummeting, with its collections failing to attract customers. The company’s trailing 5 months’ performance shows comps to have fallen every month, with the exception of April when it rose 1%.

The improvement in comps and sales for June mainly came from favorable customer response to the company’s clearance of summer assortments to make room for back-to-school merchandise.

For the 22-week period ended Jul 6, 2013, Cato’s sales dropped 1% to $435.0 million, compared with $440.8 million during the same time period ending Jun 30, 2012. Comps for the 22-week period in 2013 slid 3% from the comparable year-ago period.

Recently, 3 other retailers, Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ),Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) and Stein Mart Inc. (SMRT) reported comparable-store sales increase of 1%, 6% and 6.5%, respectively for the month of June.

Along with the June sales results, Cato reaffirmed second-quarter fiscal 2013 earnings guidance range of 42–48 cents per share compared with earnings of 59 cents in the year-ago comparable quarter.

Furthermore, the company revealed the opening of 1 store in Alpharetta, Ga., and relocation of 2 stores in Knoxville, Tenn. and Midland, Texas during the month of June. Cato also shut down 2 stores. Therefore, as of Jul 6, 2013, Cato had 1,306 stores in 31 states.

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