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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Cato Corp., a women's clothing chain, said Thursday that revenue at stores open at least a year in December fell 7 percent and the company cut its guidance for the year.

Sales in December are a key part of annual revenue because the month makes up roughly half of the busy holiday shopping season. Total revenue in the five weeks ended Dec. 31 fell 4 percent to $107.5 million.

Year-to-date, revenue in stores open at least one year fell 3 percent while total revenue was flat at $870 million.

Revenue in stores open at least one year is a gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed, which can skew business trends.

"December same-store sales results were well below expectations and our year-to-date trend," said CEO John Cato in a statement.

The company, which operates 1,312 stores in 31 states, now expects fourth-quarter net income of 34 cents to 36 cents per share, from prior guidance of 38 cents to 42 cents per share. For the year, it now expects yearly net income of $2.17 to $2.19 per share, down from prior guidance of $2.22 to $2.26 per share. Analysts expect net income of 41 cents per share for the quarter and $2.25 for the year, according to FactSet.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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