Women's fashion chain Cato Corp on Tuesday announced an eight per cent rise in third quarter net income thanks to improved inventory management and better cost controls.

The North Carolina-based company said in a news release net profit climbed to $5.4 million from $5m in 2001 on the back of a seven per cent year-on-year climb in sales to $158.2m.

It added it still expects fourth quarter net profit to climb 10 per cent year-on-year to $12.3m and sees full-year profit up 12 per cent year-on-year to $48.3m.