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Fred’s: September sales up, comps down

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s reported that its September sales rose 1% to $170.9 million, compared with the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales for the month, however, declined 3.8%, compared with an increase of 1.1% in September 2011.

Commenting on the results, Fred’s CEO Bruce Efird said the company experienced an "accelerate shift in sales of brand-name drugs to generics within the pharmacy department," which prompted the company’s comps decline; however, "pharmacy department script count continued to grow, and the department remains on financial forecast."

"As we look ahead, we are positioned for a positive impact on sales from the increased capital investments and marketing spending that we have planned for the last four months of our year," Efird said. "Anticipating an improvement in general merchandise and recognizing the brand-to-generic shift in the pharmacy, we now expect overall comparable-store sales for October and third-quarter earnings to be in the previously forecasted range."

During the month, Fred’s opened one store, two express pharmacy locations and closed one store.

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Pepsi celebrates partnership with ‘The X Factor’ with limited-edition soda

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Pepsi is commemorating its partnership with "The X Factor" with the launch of new Pepsi X.

This past spring, Pepsi joined "The X Factor" and embarked on "The Pepsi Flavor Audition Tour," giving contestants and fans at more than 20 locations in 15 cities, the exclusive opportunity to sample four new Pepsi flavors and be the judge of which one earned the right to be called Pepsi X. With more than 15,000 contestant and fan votes captured, one limited-edition Pepsi flavor will be crowned as Pepsi X, on Oct. 4. New Pepsi X will be available beginning Oct. 8, in 12-packs, 2-liter and 20-oz. bottles, while supplies last.

"Our partnership with ‘The X Factor’ has given us the opportunity to further engage with our passionate consumers, and continue the Pepsi legacy of supporting aspiring musical talent," said Eric Whitehouse, director of marketing for Pepsi. "With Pepsi X, we put fans in the judge’s seat — giving them the power to select our next limited-edition flavor — the Pepsi with ‘The X Factor.’"

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Egg Beaters introduces three-cheese variety

BY Allison Cerra

OMAHA, Neb. — Egg Beaters is highlighting a classic breakfast combination in its latest product.

Egg Beaters three cheese, made with real, all-natural egg whites and real Swiss, cheddar and provolone cheeses, offers a filling, flavorful breakfast without the extra cholesterol, fat or calories of shell eggs, Egg Beaters said. Each serving of Egg Beaters three cheese is 4 g of protein, less than 5 mg of cholesterol, less than 0.5 g of fat and 25 calories.

"Consumers have demonstrated time and time again their preference for adding cheese to their Egg Beaters," said Jill Dexter, Egg Beaters brand manager for ConAgra Foods. "With Egg Beaters three cheese, we’re making it even easier to have a protein-packed, nutritious breakfast with significantly fewer calories and less fat and cholesterol than a similar breakfast made using eggs with yolks."

Packaged in a 15-oz. resealable pour-spout container, Egg Beaters three cheese carries a suggested retail price of $2.99.

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