• Q3 profit fell 24% to $4.7m from $6.1m
  • Sales slipped 2% to $197.6m from $194.1m
  • Same-store sales also fell 2% 

Value fashion retailer The Cato Corporation has updated its full-year earnings guidance after posting a 24% drop in third quarter profit.

"Our third quarter same-store sales reflect the difficult environment we have seen for much of the year," said president and CEO John Cato.

During the three months to 29 October, gross margin rate dropped to 34.0% from 35.2% last year, due to lower merchandise margins and higher occupancy costs related to store development.

The retailer, which operates 1,306 stores under the Cato, Versona and It's Fashion banners, expects fourth quarter earnings per share to be within original guidance of $0.38 to $0.42 - a rise of 9-20% on last year's $0.35.

For the year, earnings per share are seen in the range of $2.22 to $2.26, against $2.21 last year.