Fred's March sales increased 1% year-over-year to US$191.2M as comparable-store sales fell 1.2%; company expects stronger sales in April because of Easter
April 10, 2014
– Fred's Inc. (FRED) today reported sales for the five-week fiscal month of March and the two-month year-to-date period ended April 5, 2014.
Fred's total sales for the month increased 1% to $191.2 million compared with $190.1 million in March 2013. Comparable store sales for the month decreased 1.2% compared with a decrease of 3.0% in the prior-year period.
Fred's total sales for the first two months of fiscal 2014 were approximately flat at $348.6 million compared with $349.1 million for the same period last year. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 1.7% versus a 2.3% decrease for the year-earlier period.
Commenting on the announcement, Bruce A. Efird, Chief Executive Officer, said, "As we discussed on our earnings conference call, March general merchandise sales would be challenged by the calendar shift of the Easter holiday from March last year to April this year, which was compounded by the continuing unseasonably cool weather we experienced across our market region. Looking beyond the weather and Easter-shift challenges in general merchandise, we continue to be pleased with the positive performance of our reconfiguration departments, most notably Auto, Hardware, and Pharmacy. Looking ahead, we expect stronger sales in April as our stores are well prepared, and we look forward to the arrival of the spring season and the Easter holiday." Efird added that Fred's plans to retrofit approximately 70 stores during April, resulting in approximately 60% of the chain being reconfigured through the first quarter of 2014.
During March, Fred's opened one new store with a pharmacy and closed two stores without pharmacies.
Fred's, Inc. operates 703 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.
Jerry A. Shore, 901-362-3733, Ext. 2217
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
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