FINANCE

Cato Corp. has down quarter

BY Staff Writer

Charlotte, N.C. – Specialty women’s apparel and accessories retailer Cato Corp. reported declining sales and net income during first quarter 2013. Sales dropped 2% from $272.8 million to $267.2 million, while net income fell 3% from $31.7 million to $30.8 million. Same-store sales also declined compared to the same quarter a year earlier, by 5%.

“Continuing difficult economic conditions, higher payroll taxes, delayed income tax refunds and cooler than normal temperatures in March and April negatively impacted first quarter sales," said John Cato, chairman, president, and CEO of Cato Corp.

During the first quarter, the company opened three stores, relocated one store and closed six stores. As of May 4, 2013, the company operated 1,307 stores in 31 states, compared to 1,293 stores in 31 states as of April 28, 2012.

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OPERATIONS

Unruly Media study: This Bud video’s for you

BY Staff Writer

New York — Almost all (97%) social video ad shares of alcohol brands during fourth quarter 2012 and first quarter 2013 were for four brands, Budweiser, Neft Vodka, Carlsberg and Heineken, according to a new report from Unruly Media.

Findings from “Untapped Potential: The State of Sharing in the Alcohol Sector” indicate Budweiser (59%) and Neft (24%) accounted for most of this social sharing activity.

Overall, wine brands have been the slowest to embrace social video ads, accounting for less than 1% of sharing activity.

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News

E-commerce business bolsters Bon-Ton Q1

BY CSA STAFF

YORK, Pa. — Inclement weather was not enough to hold back Bon-Ton’s first quarter results for the period ended May 4.

The company saw same-store sales increase 1.2% compared with the first quarter of the year prior. Total sales for the quarter were $647 million, a 1% increase from $641 million for the first quarter last year.

“Our first quarter financial results reflect meaningful progress on our strategic initiatives,” said president and CEO Brendan Hoffman. “Comparable store sales increased in spite of inclement weather. Enhancements to our e-commerce business again yielded double-digit sales growth while we saw increased penetration of proprietary credit card sales due to concentrated efforts to drive this business. Our gross margin rate benefited from a better balanced merchandise mix and a more effective markdown strategy.”

The company’s gross margin for the quarter was $225 million, an increase of 2.6% from $220 million in the first quarter of the year prior. The gross margin rate for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 increased to 34.8% of net sales from 34.3% of net sales in the prior year period. The company attributes the increase in its gross margin rate for the current period to a reduced net markdown percentage and an increase in the cumulative markup percentage.

The Bon-Ton Stores operates 272 department stores, which includes 11 furniture galleries, in 24 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates.

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