Monday, July 9, 2012

June sales slide at Cato

Charlotte-based women's clothing retailer Cato Corp. reported last week that its sales for June fell 7 percent, to $83.7 million, compared with the same month a year ago. Sales at stores open for a year or more, considered a key measure of a retailer's health, fell even further, dipping 10 percent.

The company said wider uncertainty is to blame - and is likely to continue. "June same-store sales were below expectations," said CEO John Cato, in a statement. "Year-to-date same-store sales results have been volatile, driven in part by various economic and political uncertainties as well as unseasonable weather. We believe it is likely this volatility will continue and we remain cautious as we look toward the second half of the year."

For the second quarter, the company cautioned its earnings will be on the low end of its guidance, at 53 to 57 cents a share. That would be a decrease of 13 to 7 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Cato operates nearly 1,300 stores in 31 states, including Versona and It's Fashion stores. Year-to-date, the company's $441 worth of sales are down about $1 million from last year, and sales at stores open a year or more are down 3 percent.

Retails sales in general have hit a bump along with the rest of the economy, inching up just 0.1 percent at large chains in June.