Cato sees sales slump 11% in April but puts brakes on decline in Q1
Charlotte, North Carolina-based womenswear retailer The Cato Corporation reported its April and Q1 2018 sales on Thursday, registering a return to declining sales after a slight Easter-related rise in March.
Sales for the four weeks ended May 5, 2018 were $71.8 million, down 11% from $80.5 million in the four-week period ended April 29, 2017, while same store sales fell 6%.
Last month’s sales were negatively impacted by the shift of Easter from April to March this year, a fact already highlight by the company when it announced its March sales, which were positively impacted by the shift.
Accordingly, the retailer’s Chairman, President and CEO John Cato advised last month that “the best way to measure our performance is by combining sales for the two months”. Over the nine-week period, sales decreased 3%, but increased 1% on a same-store basis, which may suggest that some of the retailer’s strategic initiatives are finally paying off.
In the first quarter ended May 5, 2018, sales totaled $236.0 million, a 1% decrease from the $237.5 million reported in Q1 2017, and same store sales also fell 1%, a relatively moderate decline that could well be a sign of brighter days to come.
“We are starting to see more favorable sales trends and remain cautiously optimistic about our ability to build upon this improvement in the second quarter,” John Cato said in a release.
The retailer first mentioned its “cautiously optimistic” attitude about the year to come when it announced its full-year 2017 results in March, when it also laid out its plans to close 34 stores in 2018 and focus increasingly on its existing stores and its e-commerce channel.
Cato will release its full first quarter results on Thursday, May 24, 2018.
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