By  on November 21, 2013

Cato Corp. exceeded third-quarter expectations after its October sales received a lift. Net income increased 4.6 percent to $4.9 million, or 17 cents a diluted share, from $4.7 million, or 16 cents, in the 2012 quarter. Analysts, on average, had expected earnings per share of 14 cents.

Revenues expanded 0.5 percent, to $201 million from $200 million. Sales rose 0.6 percent, to $198.8 million from $197.6 million, and were off 1 percent on a same-store basis despite a 3 percent hike in October. Gross margin expanded to 35.2 percent of sales from 34 percent a year ago, principally on improvement in merchandise margins.

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The company reaffirmed its fourth-quarter expectations for EPS of between 17 and 23 cents, against 27 cents in the final quarter of 2012, on a comp performance ranging from flat to down 3 percent.

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