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Cato's Dismal Trend Continues, November Comps Drop 10%

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Continuing with its negative comparable store sales (comps) trend, The Cato Corporation CATO released soft metrics for the four-week period ended Nov 26, 2016.

Coming to numbers, Cato’s November comps slumped 10% from the year-ago period. Total sales also plunged 10% to $68.2 million from $76 million reported a year ago.

Alongside, the company posted sales data for the 10-month period ended Nov 26, 2016, wherein sales dropped 4% to $797.4 million from $830.1 million for the same period last year. Comps declined 5% year to date.

Prior to this, the company reported a 6% decline in comps as well as sales for the four-week period ended Oct 29, 2016. For the month of October, Cato’s sales dropped to $68.9 million from $73.2 million recorded in the prior-year period.

In November, Cato inaugurated two new stores and relocated one store. The new stores were launched in Greenville and Chillicothe, both in Ohio. The relocated store is located in Fairfield, AL. As of Nov 26, 2016 the company was operating 1,374 stores across 33 states, marking an increase from 1,373 stores operated as of Nov 28, 2015.

Management at Cato stated that the company’s sales reflected the current trends of the retail environment. Most retailers are struggling, owing to sluggish mall traffic, global uncertainty and volatility in consumer spending. These factors also prompted management to remain cautious of the remainder of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016.

Further, Cato has underperformed the Zacks Categorized Retail – Apparel/Shoe industry over the past six months, with the company’s shares having dropped 20.1%, compared with the industry’s surge of 13.3% over the same time-frame.

Apart from Cato, many other retailers came out with sales numbers for November. While some managed to record positive comps despite these headwinds, others like Cato reported negative comps.  

Zumiez Inc. ZUMZ, which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), registered a 5.7% jump in November comps. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

L Brands, Inc. , with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) saw its comps rise 4%.

However, comps for The Gap, Inc. GPS, carrying a Zacks Rank #3, slipped 1% year over year.

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