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CATO REPORTS SECOND QUARTER OPERATING PROFIT UP 84 PERCENT; FIRST HALF UP 59 PERCENT

 CATO REPORTS SECOND QUARTER OPERATING PROFIT
 UP 84 PERCENT; FIRST HALF UP 59 PERCENT
 CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cato Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: CACOA) today reported a record income before extraordinary item of $3,926,000, or $.22 per share for the second quarter and $10,465,000, or $.65 per share, for the first half of 1992, compared to last year's profits of $2,130,000 ($.15 per share) for the second quarter and $6,577,000 ($.45 per share) in the first half. As previously reported, the Company paid off its long-term debt early and recorded an after-tax extraordinary charge of $657,000 ($.04 per share) for prepayment penalty and other charges related to the early debt retirement. The Company's net income after extraordinary item was $3,269,000 ($.18 per share) and $9,808,000 ($.61 per share) for the second quarter and first half, respectively, earning more in the first half than net income of $9,517,000 for the full twelve months last year.
 For the three months and first half ended Aug. 1, 1992, total revenues were $78.9 million and $157.4 million, respectively, compared to $67.9 million and $133.4 million for the same periods in the prior year. Same-store sales were up 12.5 percent and 16.1 percent for the second quarter and first half, respectively.
 Wayland H. Cato, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, remarked, "Our record earnings for the second quarter reflect the results of our successful merchandise strategy and customer service effort which increased market share and added margin contribution dollars. The results also reflect our focus on expense control, particularly significant reductions in bad debt expense. The Company's inventory levels and markdowns remain on plan.
 "Our renewed store development program is on plan for this fiscal year to open a net of 30 new units and relocate or expand another 40 units. The new, relocated and expanded stores are performing better than our plans. We believe there is an opportunity for continued increases in sales and profits for the balance of this year and in the years ahead."
 The Cato Corporation is a women's apparel specialty retailer operating under the names "Cato Fashion/Cato Plus" and "It's Fashion!" in 23 states. As of Aug. 1, 1992, The Cato Corporation operated 502 stores compared to 489 stores at Aug. 3, 1991. The Company's shares are traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol CACOA.
 THE CATO CORPORATION
 Summary of Financial Results
 (In millions, except per share amounts)
 Three Months Ended
 August 1, 1992 August 3, 1991
 Total revenues $78.9 $67.9
 Cost of Goods Sold, Buying,
 Occupancy and Distribution 51.7 44.4
 Selling, general and administrative 19.5 18.2
 Depreciation 1.0 1.1
 Interest .3 .8
 Income before extraordinary item 3.9 2.1
 Net income 3.3 2.1
 Earnings per share:
 Income before extraordinary item $.22 $.15
 Extraordinary item (loss) (.04) -
 Net income $.18 $.15
 First Half
 26 Weeks Ended 26 Weeks Ended
 August 1, 1992 August 3, 1991
 Total revenues $157.4 $133.4
 Cost of Goods Sold, Buying,
 Occupancy and Distribution 98.9 83.0
 Selling, general and administrative 38.7 35.8
 Depreciation 2.1 2.3
 Interest 1.1 1.7
 Income before extraordinary item 10.5 6.6
 Net income 9.8 6.6
 Earnings per share:
 Income before extraordinary item $.65 $.45
 Extraordinary item (loss) .04 -
 Net income $.61 $.45
 -0- 8/18/92
 /CONTACT: V. Hollis Scott, Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary, The Cato Corporation, 704-551-7266/
 (CACOA) CO: The Cato Corporation ST: North Carolina IN: REA SU: ERN


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Date:Aug 18, 1992
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