Store closures lead to slight decline in Cato’s sales
The Cato Corporation – owner of the Cato, Versona and It's Fashion brands – announced a 1% decrease in its fourth-quarter sales on Thursday, as the Charlotte, North Carolina based womenswear retailer pushed forward with store closures.
For the fourth quarter ended February 1, 2020, the company announced net sales of $188.2 million, down from $190.4 million in the prior-year period. Quarterly same-store sales rose 1%.
In January, Cato’s sales totaled $44.2 million, again reflecting a 1% decrease from the $44.5 million reported by the company in the same month in the previous year, while same-store sales increased 1%.
Over the course of the month, the company opened one store and closed one, bringing the total number of Q4 openings up to five, versus 22 closures.
Despite the impact of these store closures, it’s worth noting that Cato chairman, president and CEO John Cato also highlighted that “January same store sales were below our current trend,” in a release, suggesting a more general deceleration in the company’s momentum.
Looking back over the whole fiscal year, the company’s annual sales came to $816.0 million, falling 1% from the previous year. Full-year same-store sales increased 2%.
Cato closed a total of 35 stores over the last year and opened five, finishing January with 1,281 locations in 31 states, compared to 1,311 stores at the end of January 2019.
Cato intends to announce its full fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2019 financial results on Thursday, March 20.
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