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Cato Reports January Same-Store Sales Down 6%

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cato Corporation (NYSE: CATO) today reported sales of $50.5 million for the four weeks ended January 28, 2012, a 4% decrease compared to sales of $52.6 million for the four weeks ended January 29, 2011.  Same-store sales for the month decreased 6% from the prior year.

Sales for fiscal fourth quarter ended January 28, 2012 were $221.5 million, a decrease of 1% from sales of $224.0 million for the fourth quarter ended January 29, 2011.  For the quarter, same-store sales decreased 4%.  For the year, the Company's sales increased 1% to $920.6 million over 2010 sales of $913.1 million.  For the year, same-store sales decreased 1%.

"January same-store sales results were in line with our recent trend with the exception of the last week of the month, which was negatively impacted by the timing of tax refunds," commented John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.  "We now expect fourth quarter EPS results will be near the midpoint of our original guidance range of $0.32 to $0.35 versus $0.37 last year, as restated.  For the year, we expect diluted earnings per share will be within the range of $2.18 to $2.21 versus $2.00 last year, as restated, an increase of 9% to 11%."

The Company will release fourth quarter and fiscal year 2011 earnings on Thursday, March 15, 2012.

During January, the Company opened five new stores, relocated one store and closed four stores including three It's Fashion stores to open It's Fashion Metro stores in the same market.  New stores opened in Selma, AL, Charlotte and Fayetteville, NC, Columbia, SC and San Antonio, TX.  The relocated store is in Glen Carbon, IL.

During the fourth quarter, the Company opened 15 stores, relocated one store and closed 19 stores.  For the fiscal year ended January 28, 2012, the Company opened 38 stores, relocated four stores and closed 32 stores.  The closings for the year include 13 It's Fashion stores closed to open It's Fashion Metro stores in the same market.  As of January 28, 2012, the Company operated 1,288 stores in 31 states, compared to 1,282 stores in 31 states as of January 29, 2011. 

The Cato Corporation is a leading specialty retailer of value-priced fashion apparel and accessories operating three concepts, "Cato", "Versona" and "It's Fashion".  The Company's Cato stores offer exclusive merchandise with fashion and quality comparable to mall specialty stores at low prices every day.  Versona is a unique fashion destination offering accessories and apparel including jewelry, handbags and shoes at exceptional prices every day.  It's Fashion offers fashion with a focus on the latest trendy styles and nationally recognized urban brands for the entire family at low prices every day.  Additional information on The Cato Corporation is available at www.catocorp.com.

Statements in this press release not historical in nature including, without limitation, statements regarding the Company's expected or estimated financial results for the fourth quarter and full year and any related assumptions are considered "forward-looking" within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations that are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements.  Such factors include, but are not limited to, the following: general economic conditions; competitive factors and pricing pressures; the Company's ability to predict fashion trends; consumer apparel buying patterns; adverse weather conditions and inventory risks due to shifts in market demand and other factors discussed under "Risk Factors" in Part I, Item 1A of the Company's most recently filed annual report on Form 10-K, as amended or supplemented, and in other reports the Company files with or furnishes to the SEC from time to time.  The Company does not undertake to publicly update or revise the forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that the projected results expressed or implied therein will not be realized. The Company is not responsible for any changes made to this press release by wire or Internet services.



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