Cato Profit Expands on Small Sales Bump

Expects comps for fourth quarter to be flat to down 3 percent.

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.

This story first appeared in the November 22, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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.