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Fred’s Q1 sales rise 3%

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s on Wednesday registered a 3% increase to $471.7 million in sales for the first quarter ended May 1.

On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales increased 2.2%, compared with an increase of 2.8% in the same period last year.

“With Easter sales shifting forward from April and the extraordinarily harsh weather experienced over the Southeast during the last two weeks of the month, we are pleased to deliver positive comparable-store sales for April,” stated Bruce Efird, CEO, referencing a 0.6% lift in same-store sales for the month of April. “Our comparable-store sales growth largely has reflected higher customer tickets, underscoring the continued success of recently implemented sales-driving initiatives. Considering this top-line growth for the quarter, and with continued improvement in our operating controls, we are well-positioned to meet the upper end of our financial guidance for the first quarter and are optimistic that Fred’s can continue this progress during the balance of the year.”

During the quarter, Fred’s opened one store and five pharmacies.

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Publix supports flood, tornado relief

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA In line with many other retailers in southern United States, Publix has established a program to offer customers a way to assist those affected by the devastating floods and tornados in Alabama and Tennessee.

Customers may donate at the register to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund at Publix stores throughout Tennessee and most of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The customer donation program will continue for a few weeks, based on customer response.

In related efforts, Nashville-area Publix stores will be collecting nonperishable items for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Nashville. The food bags will be distributed to shelters servicing the impacted communities. The company also is coordinating efforts with Feed the Children for a donation of approximately $25,000 in shelf-stable items.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones, homes and personal belongings as a result of this disaster,” said Brenda Reid, media and community relations manager for Publix. “We would also like to take a moment to recognize our associates who are working hard everyday to make sure that their Publix is open and able to provide the products and services our customers need and want.”

Currently, all Publix locations are open and serving their surrounding communities.

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Social media placed into action by Wegmans

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. As a potential example of how retailers will communicate directly with customers in the future, Wegmans recently tapped into its online services. Upon hearing customer concerns about the effect of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on seafood at its stores, Wegmans turned to social media to spread the word.

By posting a video link on Twitter, it enabled its customers to meet Carl Salamone, VP seafood and hear about how the spill does (or does not) impact the seafood at its stores.

For a look at the video, click here: http://yfrog.com/2gseafoodgulfz.

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