The Cato Corporation is an American retailer of women's fashions and accessories. The company is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. As of January 2016, the company operated 1,372 stores under the names Cato, Cato Plus, It's Fashion, It's Fashion Metro and Versona. In 1946, the company founder, Wayland Cato, left United Merchants to launch his own business with his son, Wayland Henry Cato, Jr., and Edgar Thomas. The company went public in 1968, took itself private in 1980, then went public again in 1987. The company averted bankruptcy in the early 1990s after adopting a new discount pricing strategy and updated merchandise.