Popular Cities

Cato Corporation is a fashion retail store that sells women’s apparel on a budget. The corporation operates about 678 stores across 22 states in the U.S. Most of them are located in the South and Southeast where they offer a wide selection of items at low prices. 

Majority of the stores take the form of a strip mall shopping center with more than 40 percent being anchored by Wal-Mart stores. Overall, Cato employs about 8,595 people. To make buying convenient for consumers, the company offers a layaway program and an exclusive credit card. About 7% of all purchases are made using its layaway program and branded credit card. 

History of the Brand

Cato has always operated as a family business. It was started by Wayland Henry Cato and his two sons, Edgar Thomas and Wayland Henry Cato, Jr. in 1946. They first opened five clothing stores that were all based in Charlotte. Wayland hired women from the neighboring community to manage the stores. One of those hired was Della Parish who managed the Martha Park store that was located in neighboring Gaffney, South Carolina. 

Parish’s dedication to see Cato stores succeed helped save the company during its difficult days. By 1948, Cato had seven stores that generated $700,000 in sales. It reached $1 million the following year. In 1960, Wayland Cato Jr., became president of the company alongside his brother Edgar who was named vice-president. Today, it’s one of the largest fashion-minded women retail stores that cater for those on a budget. 

Business Directions 

Cato Corporation operates its apparel stores under the brand names Cato, Cato Plus, Cato Fashion, It’s Fashion, It’s Fashion Metro, and Versona. As of 2016, it had 1,372 locations operating under these names. The Cato and Cato Plus stores cater for junior, misses, and plus sizes; the It’s Fashion stores cater for juniors and Plus size; It’s Fashion Metro offers clothing for men, infants, toddlers, and tall and big men; while Versona is an exclusive apparel and accessories store. 

Some of the store’s private label products include juniors’, girls’, missy, and plus-size casual wear, shoes, accessories, coats, and career clothing. Most stores are anchored by a major supermarket or discounter. 

Key Facts

Cato’s goal is to become the leading retailer of value and fashion in the markets that it serves. The management believes that success depends on the store’s ability to differentiate itself from competing specialty stores, mass merchandise discount stores, and department stores. 

Differentiation is done using merchandise assortment of trendy apparel and accessories, value pricing that is comparably lower than that of competitors and by locating stores in convenient strip centers that are anchored by market-dominating grocery stores and national discounters. 


Can you shop Cato online? 

Yes. You can shop Cato Fashions online and get new styles every week at low everyday prices. 

Who owns Cato Fashions? 

Cato Corporation is currently led by John Cato, the current chairman and third-generation member of the Cato family. The company has been family-owned and operated since its inception in 1946.  

Does Cato have coupons? 

Yes. Cato has 25 coupons and offers that are currently active.


Typical Hours of Operation

Mo 10:00 - 20:00
Tu 10:00 - 20:00
We 10:00 - 20:00
Th 10:00 - 20:00
Fr 10:00 - 20:00
Sa 10:00 - 20:00
Su 1:00 - 18:00

Locations: 1017 locations in 42 states and 781 cities.


  • Shoe Stores
  • Women's Clothing

Related to Cato