Fred's CEO: March dollar sales up but comps flat; pharmacy performing well

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred's on Thursday reported total sales of $194 million for the five weeks ended March 31, up 3% from the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales for the month were flat versus an increase of 0.7% in the same period last year.

"As one would expect with warming weather, customers focused on seasonal product areas, and our Core 5 departments of pet, household supplies, and pharmacy continued to do well," Fred's CEO Bruce Efird said. "Sales in our newer stores and pharmacies continued to perform ahead of our expectations in March. [And] our real estate team remains confident in its ability to hit our accelerated pace for new store openings this year."

Fred's total sales for the first two months of fiscal 2012 increased 3% to $352.9 million. On a comparable-store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 0.4% versus a 0.7% increase for the year-earlier period.

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