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Fred's: September sales up, comps down

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred's reported that its September sales rose 1% to $170.9 million, compared with the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales for the month, however, declined 3.8%, compared with an increase of 1.1% in September 2011.

Commenting on the results, Fred's CEO Bruce Efird said the company experienced an "accelerate shift in sales of brand-name drugs to generics within the pharmacy department," which prompted the company's comps decline; however, "pharmacy department script count continued to grow, and the department remains on financial forecast."

"As we look ahead, we are positioned for a positive impact on sales from the increased capital investments and marketing spending that we have planned for the last four months of our year," Efird said. "Anticipating an improvement in general merchandise and recognizing the brand-to-generic shift in the pharmacy, we now expect overall comparable-store sales for October and third-quarter earnings to be in the previously forecasted range."

During the month, Fred's opened one store, two express pharmacy locations and closed one store.

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