Sales up, comps down for Fred's

MEMPHIS — June sales for Fred's rose 2% to $182.6 million, compared with the year-ago period, the retailer said Thursday.

Comparable-store sales, however, saw a decline of 4%, compared with a decrease of 0.7% in the same period last year. Fred's CEO Bruce Efird said the drop primarily was due to branded-to-generic shift in pharmacy sales that now are under way.

"Adjusting for the brand-to-generic shift in the pharmacy department, we now anticipate overall comparable-store sales in July to be in the range of flat to a decline of 3%," Efird said. "We expect earnings to be at the lower end of our projected range of 15 cents to 17 cents for the second quarter."

During the month, Fred's opened two express pharmacy locations and closed 12 stores. The store closings were in line with the company's real estate plan for 2012.

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