Fred's looking toward accelerating pharmacy growth in 2013

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred's Super Dollar on Thursday reported sales for the five-weeks ended Feb. 2 were up 31% to $173.6 million. Comparable store sales were up 28.6%. 

On an adjusted basis, which eliminates the one week ended Feb. 2, sales were up 2% and same-store sales were flat, Fred's added. 

"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," reported Bruce Efird, Fred's CEO. "We look forward to the new year and our expansion in specialty pharmacy and clinical services, an acceleration of pharmacy acquisitions, our expansion of new auto and hardware product initiatives, and a roll out of new concepts, such as the smaller drug and dollar store," he added. "Considering Fred's growth prospects in the rapidly changing pharmacy industry, along with our new general merchandise initiatives, we believe there are significant opportunities to drive higher sales and profits in 2013."

On an unadjusted basis, Fred's also reported fourth quarter total sales increased 7% to $533.5 million. Comparable store sales increased 4.8%. And total sales for the 53-week fiscal 2012 increased 4% to $2 billion and full-year same-store sales were up 1.1% on an unadjusted basis. With the one week ended Feb. 2 extracted, adjusted total sales were flat for the fourth quarter and increased 2% for fiscal 2012. Comparable sales were down 2.8% for the fourth quarter and down 1.4% for the full year. 

During January, Fred's opened two new stores, closed one store and closed one Xpress pharmacy. For the year, Fred's added a net total of 12 new locations, consisting of 20 new stores and 6 new Xpress pharmacies, which was offset by the closing of 14 company-owned stores. The company also opened 24 new pharmacies in 2012 and closed 3, for a net addition of 21 pharmacies during the year.


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