Fred's February sales grew 4% to US$159.6M as comparable-store sales declined 0.7%; sales bolstered by new stores and pharmacies, while weather hurt same-store sales

MEMPHIS , March 1, 2012 () – Fred's Inc. (NASDAQ:FRED) today reported sales for the four-week fiscal month of February, the first month of fiscal 2012, which ended February 25, 2012.

Fred's total sales for the month increased 4% to $159.1 million from $153.6 million in February 2011. Comparable store sales for the month declined 0.7% compared with an increase of 0.9% in the same period last year.

Commenting on the announcement, Bruce A. Efird, Chief Executive Officer, said, "February store sales demonstrated the challenge we have during the first quarter with advertising circular timing and calendar and holiday shifts. We were pleased that total sales were on plan for the month, reflecting the performance of our newer stores and pharmacies, which was ahead of expectations. Our pharmacy department also delivered a solid performance in February as both sales and script volume were positive for the month. Comparable store sales, which we forecasted to be flat for the month, came in slightly below expectations, with most of the shortfall in the Lawn and Garden department as it contended with wet weather and a shift in advertising circular at the end of the month.

"Looking ahead," Efird continued, "new store and pharmacy performance is expected to continue on this trend we saw in February, which we believe is a direct reflection of our upgraded new prototype and real estate site selection program."

Fred's Inc. operates 700 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

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.

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