Cato key revenue figure flat in October

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Women's clothing company Cato Corp. said Thursday that revenue at stores open at least a year in October was unchanged from last year, and it's slightly more optimistic about profit in its third quarter.

This metric is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed, which can skew business trends. In October, Cato opened 5 stores and closed one shop. It has about 1,300 stores in the U.S.

For the three months through Oct. 27, Cato's revenue at stores open at least a year fell 2 percent.

The company said total revenue in October rose 3 percent to $64.3 million, and rose 2 percent in the fiscal third quarter to $197.6 million.

Cato now anticipates third-quarter earnings near the middle of its forecast of 12 to 17 cents per share. It had previously predicted that profit would come in at the lower end of the range.

The Charlotte, N.C., company will report its third-quarter financial results on Nov. 15.

For the year to date, revenue at stores open at least a year dropped 2 percent. Total revenue rose slightly to $701.8 million from $699.1 million.