CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Cato's revenue at stores open at least a year rose 1 percent in April, surprising Wall Street. The specialty retailer said a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday helped its performance.
The metric is a key indicator of retailer health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
But combined sales for the March-April period fell and first-quarter revenue results also declined. The company cut its first-quarter earnings forecast.
Cato Corp. said Thursday that its April results were helped by Easter because the holiday occurred in late March this year as compared with early April last year.
Total revenue for the four weeks ended May 4 fell 9 percent to $77 million.
Cato said that the best measure of its performance is combined sales for March and April, which fell 3 percent. Revenue at stores open at least a year dropped 5 percent from a year ago.
First-quarter revenue at stores open at least a year declined 5 percent, while total revenue dipped 2 percent to $267.2 million.
Chairman, President and CEO John Cato said in a statement that the Charlotte, North Carolina, company now foresees first-quarter earnings of $1.02 to $1.04 per share. Its prior guidance was $1.03 to $1.14 per share.
The retailer will report its quarterly financial results on May 23.
Cato had 1,307 stores in 31 states as of May 4. Its shares finished at $24.38 on Wednesday.