Fred's Inc. (NASDAQ: FRED) today reported higher sales for the five-week fiscal month of September and eight-month year-to-date period ended October 5, 2013.
Fred's total sales for the month increased 4% to $177.3 million compared with $170.9 million in September 2012. Comparable store sales for the month increased 2.8% versus a decline of 3.8% in the same period last year.
Fred's total sales for the year-to-date period increased 1% to $1.301 billion compared with $1.282 billion for the same period last year. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales increased 0.8% versus a decline of 1.2% in the same period last year.
Commenting on the announcement, Bruce A. Efird, Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are pleased to report that Fred's 2.8% comparable store sales increase for September was at the high end of our projected range. This improvement reflected ongoing positive trends in our general merchandise and pharmacy departments. We continue to experience success from our reconfiguration plan, as the pharmacy department comparable store sales and script growth were key to this month's performance." Efird noted that Fred's rolled out its reconfiguration plan, which includes the Hometown Auto & Hardware and expanded Health Aids departments, to an additional 95 stores during September. To date, a total of 320 stores or 47% of the chain has been reconfigured. "Given the progress we achieved during the second quarter, we remain confident that third quarter earnings will be within the range previously forecasted," Efird added.During the month, Fred's opened two stores and three Xpress pharmacy locations. Fred's, Inc. operates 702 discount general merchandise stores, including 21 franchised Fred's stores, in the southeastern United States. For more information about the Company, visit Fred's website at www.fredsinc.com. Comments in this news release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general economic trends, changes in consumer demand or purchase patterns, delays or interruptions in the flow of merchandise between the Company's distribution centers and its stores or between the Company's suppliers and same, a disruption in the Company's data processing services, costs and delays in acquiring or developing new store sites, and other contingencies discussed in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Fred's undertakes no obligation to release revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unforeseen events, except as required to be reported under the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.