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Cato Corp Repeats Dismal Trend, September Comps Fall 8%


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The Cato Corporation posted soft sales data for the five weeks ended Oct 1, 2016, continuing with its negative sales trend.

Last month, the company reported an 8% decline in comparable-store sales (comps). Additionally, total sales for the four weeks ended Aug 27, 2016, fell 7% to $62 million from $67 million recorded in the prior-year period.

Coming to the September results, comps slumped 9% from the year-ago period. Total sales dipped 8% to $76.2 million from $83.2 million reported a year ago.

Alongside, the company posted sales data for 35 weeks ended Oct 1, 2016, wherein sales slipped 3% to $660.3 million from $680.9 million for the same period last year. Comps declined 4% year to date.

Following dismal September results, Cato lowered its earnings per share forecast for third-quarter fiscal 2016. The company now expects fiscal third-quarter earnings in the range of 7–11 cents per share, compared with its previous projection of 13–18 cents and the prior-year figure of 30 cents.

Moreover, in September, Cato inaugurated two new stores while it closed one store. The new store was launched in Peachtree, GA.  The company was operating 1,373 stores across 33 states as of Oct 1, 2016, marking an increase from 1,367 stores operated as of Oct 3, 2015.

Shares of the company plunged nearly 10.2% on Oct 6 after the dismal comps results and the lowered third-quarter earnings guidance.

Apart from Cato, Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST - Analyst Report) , L Brands Inc. (LB - Analyst Report) and Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ - Analyst Report) came out with their comparable sales results for the month of September, registering an increase of 1%, 3% and 6.3%, respectively.

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