MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred's Super Dollar on Thursday reported an increase of 1% in total sales to $450.6 million for its third quarter ended Oct. 27. Comparable store sales for the quarter declined 2.5% compared with an increase of 1.5% in the third quarter of 2011.
"We were pleased with the response to our increased marketing initiatives that began in October, resulting in positive customer traffic and higher general merchandising comparable store sales," stated Bruce Efird, CEO Fred's. "One of our key end-of-year programs was the initiation of a $1 down holiday season layaway program, which dramatically increased layaway sales during the month," he noted. "Also, we continued to see growth in script counts in our pharmacy department during October, but this was more than offset by the sales impact of the ongoing brand-name-to-generic conversion. The effect of this shift on total and comparable store sales was 250 basis points in October."
Fred's increased its projected earnings per share for the year to fall in the range of 96 cents to $1.02 per share. "With the implementation of several key new merchandising and marketing initiatives in the fourth quarter, and the positive impact of the forward shifting of layaway sales and earnings, we continue to project a double-digit earnings per share improvement for 2012," Efird said.
During the month, Fred's opened three stores and one express pharmacy location and closed one store.