The Company, founded in 1946, operated 1,311 fashion specialty stores at February 2, 2019, in 31 states, principally in the southeastern United States, under the names "Cato," "Cato Fashions," "Cato Plus," "It's Fashion," "It's Fashion Metro" and "Versona." The Cato concept seeks to offer quality fashion apparel and accessories at low prices, every day in junior/missy and plus sizes. The Cato concept's stores and e-commerce websites feature a broad assortment of apparel and accessories, including dressy, career, and casual sportswear, dresses, coats, shoes, lingerie, costume jewelry and handbags. A major portion of the Cato concept's merchandise is sold under its private label and is produced by various vendors in accordance with the concept's specifications. The It's Fashion and It's Fashion Metro concepts offer fashion with a focus on the latest trendy styles for the entire family at low prices every day. The Versona concept's stores and e-commerce website offer quality fashion apparel items, jewelry and accessories at exceptional values every day. The Company's stores range in size from 2,100 to 19,000 square feet and are located primarily in strip shopping centers anchored by national discounters or market-dominant grocery stores. The Company emphasizes friendly customer service and coordinated merchandise presentations in an appealing store environment. The Company offers its own credit card and layaway plan. Credit and layaway sales under the Company's plan represented 7% of retail sales in fiscal 2018. See Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, "Reportable Segment Information," for a discussion of information regarding the Company's two reportable segments: retail and credit.
The Company's primary objective is to be the leading fashion specialty retailer for fashion and value in its markets. Management believes the Company's success is dependent upon its ability to differentiate its stores from department stores, mass merchandise discount stores and competing specialty stores. The key elements of the Company's business strategy are:
Merchandise Assortment. The Company's stores offer a wide assortment of on-trend apparel and accessory items in primarily junior/missy, plus sizes, mens and kids sizes, infant to boys size 20 and girls size 16 with an emphasis on color, product coordination and selection. Colors and styles are coordinated and presented so that outfit selection is easily made.