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Sales up, comps down for Fred’s

BY Allison Cerra

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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Cool Off personal cooling towelette makes retail debut

BY Allison Cerra

SAN ANTONIO — A personal cooling towelette has entered the market.

Cool Off is designed to reduce surface skin temperatures 12 degrees and will maintain that lower temperature for approximately one hour, the company said. The towelettes, which are pocket-sized, are infused with 17 different cooling and therapeutic herbs, botanicals and essential oils.

Cool Off is available at such retailers as Duane Reade and H-E-B, as well as online at Amazon.com, CVS.com and Drugstore.com.


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Ralcorp’s Ronald Wilkinson announces retirement

BY Allison Cerra

ST. LOUIS — Ralcorp announced that Ronald Wilkinson, corporate VP and president of Ralcorp Cereal Products, will retire from the company, effective Sept. 30.

Wilkinson, a food industry veteran, has served in this capacity since 2010.

"Ron has been an integral member of the Ralcorp leadership team for the past 16 years, and we congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement," Ralcorp president and CEO Kevin Hunt said. "Ron has contributed greatly to Ralcorp’s success over the years, and we are grateful for his strong leadership and business acumen."

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