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Profits slip at Cato

Sales and profits fell at Charlotte-based apparel retailer Cato Corp. in the company’s second quarter, Cato reported Thursday.

The company’s profits fell 14 percent compared to the same quarter last year, to $14.8 million. Revenue was down 1 percent, at $229 million.

Sales at sores open for a year or more, considered a key measure of a retailer’s health, were down 2 percent.

“Same-store sales continue to be affected by slow economic growth, high unemployment and our customers’ limited discretionary spending,” said chief executive John Cato, in a statement. “We expect this difficult environment to continue in the second half.”

Cato’s gross profit margin also slipped to 36.8 percent, down 1.6 percentage points. The company said that was due to lower margins on merchandise and higher occupancy costs for stores.

Cato operates 1,306 stores, and plans to open 51 new stores this year. Cato operates under the Cato, Versona and It’s Fashion names.

Portillo: 704-358-5041 On Twitter @ESPortillo
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