• Profit fell 15.5% to $14.8m versus $17.3m
  • Sales edged down 1% to $229.4m from $231.5m
  • Gross margin improves slightly to 36.8%

Value-priced fashion retailer The Cato Corporation today (22 August) posted a 15.5% decline in second quarter profit as sales slipped amid a "difficult environment".

The company, which operates 1,306 stores, said net income reached US$14.8m during the three months to 3 August, compared to $17.3m in the same period of last year.

Sales edged down 1% to $229.4m from $231.5m in the prior year, while same-store sales slipped 2%. Gross margin improved slightly to 36.8% from 38.4% last year, primarily due to lower merchandise margins and higher store occupancy costs.  

"Same-store sales continue to be affected by slow economic growth, high unemployment and our customers' limited discretionary spending," said chairman, president and CEO John Cato. 

"We expect this difficult environment to continue in the second half."