The Cato Corp. reported sales and earnings that missed consensus estimates and gave weak guidance for the rest of the year, causing the stock to slide in early trading.
The Charlotte-based specialty retailer reported earnings of 56 cents per share, which was shy of the FactSet consensus of 57 cents and the same as last year for the same time period. Total revenue came in at $251 million, but FactSet consensus was pegged at $252 million. The company’s retail sales for the second quarter came in at $249.2 million, a 2 percent increase over last year’s sales of $243.8 million. Sales for the first half were $530.8 million, up 1 percent to the prior year’s first half sales of $526.2 million.
Same-store sales for the first half were down 2 percent from the prior year. “Sales continue to be challenging in the current retail environment,” said John Cato, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We expect second-half earnings per diluted share will be within our original guidance range of 46 to 55 [cents].”
Comparable-store sales for both the third and fourth quarters are estimated to be in the range of down 2 percent to flat. Based on year-to-date results and this guidance for the second half, earnings per diluted share are expected to be within the range of $2.10 to $2.23 versus $2.15 last year, a decrease of 2 percent to an increase of 4 percent.
Cato is also scaling back on store openings. The retailer opened 14 new stores, relocated 5 stores and closed 2 stores. The original plan was to open 45 stores, but now it only plans to open 40.
Cato stock is dropping almost 1 percent to $37.18 in early trading. The stock has had a roller coaster of a year, going as low as $32.97 and as high as $44.89. However, for the last six months it has dropped 16 percent as retailers have been subjected to a consumer who isn’t willing to spend a lot on apparel.