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May sales rise for Fred's

MEMPHIS — Fred's experienced a boost in monthly and comparable-store sales during the month of May, the retailer said Tuesday.

Total sales for the four-week period ended May 26 rose 6% to $152.1 million, compared with May 2011, while comps rose 1.3%, compared with an increase of 0.2% in the same period last year. During the period, Fred's opened one new store.

"We are pleased to report a solid start to our second fiscal quarter, with total and comparable sales both at the high end of expectations for May," Fred's CEO Bruce Efird said. "As we discussed in our recent earnings conference call, we initiated several new product programs late in the first quarter, and these initiatives have begun to contribute to higher general merchandise sales. Additionally, our pharmacy department continued its strong performance, against the broader shift of brand to generic drugs. We are confident that our initiatives in general merchandise will lead to an improvement in comparable-store sales going forward. Based on this expectation, along with the improved performance of our newer stores, we remain optimistic about the momentum developing in our business for the second quarter and the remainder of the year."

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