Women's apparel retailer The Cato Corporation has posted first quarter net income of $16.8 million, down from $17.5m in the same period a year ago.

The North Carolina-based company, which operates the Cato and It's Fashion! chains, also posted a four per cent increase in sales to $205.2m for the quarter, up from $197.3m in the previous first quarter.

"Our first quarter results were in line with our expectations," CEO John Cato said.
During the quarter, Cato opened 16 new stores and relocated 10 existing outlets.