Friday, March 2, 2012

Sales slide continues at Cato

Charlotte-based women's apparel retailer Cato is still struggling with falling sales at stores open a year or more, as the company reported they fell 5 percent last month.

Sales at stores open for a year or more are considered a key indicator of a retailer's health, because they exclude the impact of store openings or closing and give a more accurate comparison of performance. Same-store sales were down 5 percent in February compared to February 2011, Cato said Thursday. 
February was the eighth straight month of declining same-store sales for Cato.

Overall sales were down 3 percent in February, at $83.9 million.

"February sales were slightly weaker than our recent trend reflecting the continuing difficult economic environment and, to a lesser extent, the impact of tax refund delays," said CEO John Cato, in a statement.

Cato operates nearly 1,300 stores in 31 states, including its namesake Cato stores, Versona accessory stores and It's Fashion stores. The chain had revenue of $197 million in the third quarter, its most recently reported, and profits of $6.1 million.