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Fred’s posts Q2 sales increase

BY DSN STAFF

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s reported net income of $1 million or 3 cents per diluted share for the second quarter, inclusive of net costs associated with the closing of 50 stores and one pharmacy during the second quarter, pursuant to the company’s previously announced program to close 75 underperforming stores and 22 underperforming pharmacies in 2008. In the year-earlier quarter, Fred’s net income totaled $3.1 million or 8 cents per diluted share.

Fred’s total sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 increased 5 percent to $447.1 million from $424.6 million for the same period last year. Excluding stores closed in 2008, total sales from ongoing stores increased 7 percent over last year. On a comparable-store basis, second quarter sales increased 4.9 percent versus 0.8 percent in the year-earlier period.

In the third quarter, the company expects total sales to be flat with last year, reflecting the closing of the 75 stores and 22 pharmacies in line with the company’s planned restructuring program. Comparable-store sales are expected to increase in the range of 1 percent to 3 percent. Earnings per share are forecasted to be in the range of 16 cents to 18 cents for the third quarter, increasing 33 percent to 50 percent over the same period last year.

Looking ahead, the company continues to expect total earnings per diluted share for 2008 to be in the range of 54 cents to 58 cents, including net costs in 2008 related to the announced store closings. Excluding net costs associated with the store restructuring program in 2008, earnings per share in 2008 are expected to be in the range of 72 cents to 76 cents.

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CVS looks to donate more than 2,500 backpacks to needy schoolchildren

BY Alaric DeArment

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy hopes to provide school supplies for 2,600 children in need in the Washington area, with the help of the local NBC affiliate.

The drug store chain announced Tuesday that it would sell backpacks filled with more than a dozen school supplies at its stores for $12.99 for customers to donate to the Backpacks 4 Kids program. The supplies are valued at more than $25.

The backpacks and school supplies collected through the program are given to pre-selected schools and non-profit organizations to distribute to children in need. Customers at CVS/pharmacy can also purchase school supplies for donation.

The backpacks are available at CVS/pharmacy stores in Washington and surrounding cities in Virginia and Maryland. Last year, the program donated 2,300 backpacks.

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Sammons’ speech to Rite Aid associates very positive

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE Rite Aid is looking up, Mary Sammons, Rite Aid chairman, president and chief executive officer, told Rite Aid associates last week at the 2008 Rite Aid Management Conference and Supplier Exhibition. “The momentum is with us to have positive comp sales in all of our stores in Q3,” she said, noting that the Brooks/Eckerd assimilation was nearly complete. All systems conversions were completed in May; each of the six distribution centers is online; and Rite Aid’s planograms have been ceded into all former Brooks/Eckerd store fronts.

And to help fuel that momentum going forward, Rite Aid has generated hundreds of thousands of new prescriptions out of its “Fill Up and Fuel Up” program—in shich customers transferring prescriptions receive a $30 Rite Aid gift card and a chance to win a year’s worth of gas.

And to entice even more seniors to shop Rite Aid, the chain is continuing to promote its Living More senior loyalty card program and will introduce a new health and wellness program in September.

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