CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cato
Corporation (NYSE: CATO) held its Annual Shareholders' Meeting
yesterday, reporting increases in net income and earnings per
diluted share for 2019.
Cato's net income in 2019 was $35.9
million – up 18 percent from 2018, which was up 257 percent
from 2017. Earnings per share totaled $1.46 – a 19 percent increase from 2018, which
was a 262 percent increase from 2017. The company ended 2019 with
more than $212 million in
unrestricted cash and investments, and it remained debt-free
"We are encouraged that even during a major transformation in
retail, we grew our business in 2019 after stabilizing it in 2018,"
said John Cato, Chairman, President,
and CEO. "We continue to focus on our product and merchandise
assortments so that as consumers dramatically change how, when and
what they shop for, we offer fashions at great values that resonate
with our customers."
In 2019, Cato returned more than $42
million to shareholders through dividends and share
repurchases, maintaining a quarterly dividend of 33 cents per share.
Cato's success stems from the hard work and dedication of its
associates and the loyalty of its customers, Mr. Cato said. He
shared updates on three key initiatives:
- A new store development strategy designed to take advantage of
women's retail apparel space vacancies in the market;
- Offering more exclusive products by building on the success of
the internal design organization, and;
- Strengthening the company's overseas sourcing offices to
improve merchandise quality and accelerate product development
During the annual meeting at Cato's corporate offices
in Charlotte, N.C., shareholders re-elected three board
members – Dr. Pamela Davies,
Thomas B. Henson and Bryan F. Kennedy, III – each for a three-year
term that expires in 2023.
Shareholders also received updates on 2020 progress:
- Our stores were temporarily closed March
19 for the safety of our customers and associates, beginning
to reopen May 1 in compliance
with local health and safety guidelines. The pandemic's
dramatic impact on our customers and our communities has
significantly dropped Cato's sales during 1Q 2020.
- Our associates have demonstrated amazing strength and
dedication, working tirelessly over the past several weeks as we
took actions to reduce expenses across the organization to protect
the company's long-term health.
- The company has taken additional steps to preserve capital
resources by suspending the quarterly dividend and reducing capital
- The coronavirus pandemic limited new store development for 2020
to only previously leased locations. To date, 28 new stores have
opened and the remaining stores will open by the end of 3Q.
"We have yet to realize the full impact of the pandemic on the
retail industry, consumers and the economy," Mr. Cato said. "Given
the extraordinary circumstances we face, we must continue to
operate with great care and discipline, taking difficult steps to
safeguard the long-term health of our company."
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.
The Company also offers exclusive merchandise found in its Cato
stores at www.catofashions.com. Versona is a unique
fashion destination offering apparel and accessories including
jewelry, handbags and shoes at exceptional prices every day.
Select Versona merchandise can also be found
at www.shopversona.com. It's Fashion offers fashion with
a focus on the latest trendy styles for the entire family at low
prices every day.
Statements in this press release not historical in
nature including, without limitation, statements
regarding the Company's expected or estimated operational and
financial results and potential impact of the coronavirus 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, any actual
or perceived deterioration in the conditions that drive consumer
confidence and spending, including, but not limited to, prevailing
social, economic, political and public health conditions and
uncertainties, levels of unemployment, fuel, energy and food costs,
wage rates, tax rates, interest rates, home values, consumer net
worth and the availability of credit; changes in laws or
regulations affecting our business including tariffs; uncertainties
regarding the impact of any governmental responses to the foregoing
conditions; competitive factors and pricing pressures; our ability
to predict and respond to rapidly changing fashion trends and
consumer demands; our ability to successfully open new stores as
planned and our ability of any such new stores to grow and perform
as expected; adverse weather, public health threats (including the
global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak) or similar conditions that
may affect our sales or operations; inventory risks due to shifts
in market demand, including the ability to liquidate excess
inventory at anticipated margins; 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 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
SOURCE The Cato Corporation