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Fred’s Q2 sales up slightly; consumers buying mostly staples

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s on Thursday reported sales of $452.7 million, up 1% compared with the year-ago period, for the second quarter ended July 30. On a comparable-store basis, second-quarter sales decreased 0.4% versus an increase of 2.5% in the same period last year.

"July’s sales performance was consistent with the first two months of the quarter as external economic factors, including high unemployment and reductions in government aid, continued to have a negative impact throughout the Southeast," stated Bruce Efird, Fred’s CEO.

"Even though several of our Core 5 focus areas performed well, including pet and household supplies, the overall pressures of the economy continued to drive sales toward basic and consumable products," Efird added. "In spite of lower-than-expected sales and inflation-driven margin pressure, we now expect net income per diluted share for the second quarter to be flat compared with the same period last year."

During the period, Fred’s opened one new store and pharmacy. Through the first half of the year, the company has opened four new stores and pharmacies, closed seven stores and pharmacies, and upgraded 114 stores as part of the Core 5 Program.

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Sales rise for Target in July

BY Mike Troy

MINNEAPOLIS — July same-store sales at Target rose 4.1% on top of a prior-year gain of 2%, with increased transaction size serving as the primary driver of an increase toward the upward end of the company’s guidance.

Target had forecast an increase of low-to-mid single digits, and for the second month in a row, the company’s actual result was toward the upper-end of the range. Target reported a 4.5% comp increase in June, offsetting a weaker than expected showing in May to give the company an overall second-quarter same-store sales increase of 3.9% that was characterized as a meaningful acceleration from the 2% comp increase recorded in the first quarter. Target is scheduled to release second-quarter results on Aug. 17, followed by a meeting with financial analysts in New York the next day.

“We’re very pleased with Target’s July sales performance, which again was at the high end of our expected range,” Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said. “In addition, back-to-school sales are off to a solid start, contributing to our confidence in the strategies we have in place and our ability to execute them, especially as we head into the 2011 holiday season.”

In July, commodity categories saw the strongest growth, with grocery category comps in the mid-to-upper teens, while health care, beauty and household essentials increased in the mid-to-upper single-digit range.

Also of note: The company reported less regional volatility in sales results, with all areas of the country experiencing same-store sales growth. Despite the broad-based strength and early success with back-to-school sales, Target maintained low-to-mid single-digit same-store sales expectations for August. The company’s guidance reflects a reality that even with encouraging acceleration in same-store sales trends, the potential exists for uneven results in the months ahead due to persistent turbulence in the economy.

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Lansinoh’s expanded brand offerings reflected with new mommy blog: OnCloudMom

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Lansinoh Labs on Wednesday introduced a major upgrade of its popular blog, now called OnCloudMom, to better reflect the company’s extended consumer reach with the recent acquisitions of the Earth Friendly Baby and mOmma brands.

The new blog will give parents a place to find answers to many of their questions through each of their child’s developmental phases — from pregnancy through toddlerhood — while keeping a dedicated focus on breast-feeding resources for moms. The OnCloudMom blog community will give moms support as they prepare for life with an infant, provide the tools to tackle the first weeks of mothering, teach them how to promote their babies’ healthy development and provide a place to immerse themselves in all things mom.

“We first launched our blog in 2008 to share our expertise and personal experiences in breast-feeding while having the opportunity to engage and help women in an accessible online space,” stated Gina Ciagne, senior director of breast-feeding relations at Lansinoh Labs. “Since then it’s grown to be a core communication vehicle for our company and has extended to reach moms on Twitter and Facebook.”

OnCloudMom will continue to feature articles by and interviews with physicians and researchers who specialize in lactation. In addition, the blog will cover pediatrics, pregnancy and child development; the latest news and research relevant to pregnant women and moms of babies and toddlers; and contributions from moms who are going through the most common, and the most unique, new-parent challenges.
 

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