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Clothing Retailer Cato Says 1Q Profit Rises 12 Pct

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) ¿ Women's clothing retailer Cato Corp. said Wednesday its first-quarter profit rose 12 percent as the company used markdowns to attract consumers during the recession.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based mall retailer earned $18.8 million, or 64 cents per share, in the quarter that ended May 2. That compares with $16.9 million, or 57 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $241 million, up from $228.8 million. The company operates stores under the brand names "Cato" and "It's Fashion."

Same-store sales, or sales at stores that have been open at least a year, rose 3 percent during the quarter.

The company said second-quarter profit would be in a range of 48 cents to 54 cents per share. Cato also raised its 2009 profit forecast to $1.13 to $1.27 per share, from a prior view of 98 cents to $1.17 per share.

Cato shares rose 59 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $19.39 in afternoon trading.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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