Cato Posts Positive Comps - Analyst Blog

By Zacks Equity Research,

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Charlotte, N.C.-based retailer of apparel and accessories for women, Cato Corporation ( CATO ) reported a 1% improvement in comparable-store sales (comps) for the 4 weeks ended Mar 1, 2014. The rise was attributable to the last two weeks of February during which the weather got warmer and offset the negative impact of harsh weather in the first two weeks of the month. Additionally, shoppers visited the company's stores more at the month-end, as they felt richer after getting tax refunds.

Further, for the 4 weeks period, Cato reported a year-over-year increase of 3% in total sales, which came in at $84.7 million.

However, not all retailers emerged strong during the month. Companies like The Buckle, Inc. ( BKE ), Stein Mart Inc. ( SMRT ) and The Gap Inc. ( GPS ) were hard hit by unfavorable weather conditions. Buckle, Stein Mart and Gap registered a comps decline of 1.4%, 2.1% and 7%, respectively in February.

For the past two months, Cato's top-line performance was hurt due to unfavorable weather conditions in many markets where it primarily operates. On a year-over-year basis, net sales for Dec 2013 were down 3% while comps registered a decline of 4%. The situation worsened in Jan 2014, with a fall of 25% and 8% in net sales and comps, respectively.

Consequently, Cato ended its fiscal 2013 with a sales decline of 2% to $910.8 million from $933.8 million during fiscal 2012. Moreover, comps for the period slid 3% from the previous fiscal.

The company, which is expected to report fiscal 2013 results on Mar 20, expects its fiscal earnings to come in the range of $1.84 to $1.88 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fiscal is pegged at $1.86 per share.

As of Mar 1, 2014, this leading specialty retailer of women's fashions and accessories operated about 1,320 stores across 32 states.

BUCKLE INC (BKE): Free Stock Analysis Report

GAP INC (GPS): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
Referenced Stocks: BKE , GPS , CATO , SMRT

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