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Fred's Reports January Sales

Fred's Inc. (NASDAQ: FRED) today reported sales for the five-week month of January and 53-week fiscal year 2012, which ended February 2, 2013, versus four-week month and 52-week year-earlier periods.

On an unadjusted basis, Fred's total sales for January 2013 rose 31% to $173.6 million compared with $132.4 million for the four-week year-earlier period, and comparable store sales for January increased 28.6%. On an unadjusted basis, fourth quarter total sales increased 7% to $533.5 million compared with $497.7 million for the year-earlier quarter, and comparable store sales increased 4.8%. Total sales for fiscal 2012 increased 4% to a record $1.956 billion for the 53-week year versus $1.879 billion for the 52-week fiscal 2011. Comparable store sales increased 1.1% for the year on an unadjusted basis.

To make sales results for January and fiscal 2012 comparable with those of the prior year, the Company eliminated the week ended February 2, 2013, to make similar four-, 13-, and 52-week periods. On this adjusted basis, total sales increased 2% for January, were flat for the fourth quarter, and increased 2% for fiscal 2012. On the adjusted basis, comparable store sales were flat in January versus a decrease of 0.8% in the year-earlier period. The fourth quarter comparable store sales, on an adjusted basis, decreased 2.8% compared with an increase of 0.1% in the prior-year period. On an adjusted basis, comparable store sales for fiscal 2012 decreased 1.4% versus an increase of 0.5% for fiscal 2011.

Commenting on the announcement, Bruce A. Efird, Chief Executive Officer, said, "We were pleased by strengthening sales momentum in January. This improvement reflected the initiatives we have put in place in tobacco, programs to drive higher ticket amounts, and continued increases in pharmacy script growth. Discretionary sales at the end of the month were pressured to some extent by delays in finalizing tax forms for 2012 that prevented our customers from receiving early tax refunds. Overall, we were pleased with the direction of our business in January and the many exciting new programs we have in store for 2013."

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