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Pharmacy a boost for Fred's


A bigger focus on the pharmacy department was a key driver of success for Fred’s in January.

The retailer reported that total sales for the month increased 3% to $138.8 million from $134.7 million in January 2014. Same store sales for the month increased 4.3% versus a decrease of 1.8% for the same period last year.

Jerry A. Shore, Fred’s CEO, said, "As we ended fiscal 2014, we were pleased that comparable store sales reached the high end of our January plan and that customer traffic turned positive. Favorable weather conditions during the month helped as we experienced a well-balanced sales mix throughout our general merchandise departments, led by health and beauty aids, hardware, toys, housewares, domestics, infants, and hosiery. The pharmacy department also continued to perform strongly, with growth in both scripts and sales aided by the seasonal influenza.

“We are focused on implementing the process improvement initiatives outlined over the past few months, designed to restore traffic, control inventory, and promote profitability at Fred's," Shore continued. "The key drivers for success in 2015 will be a greater emphasis on our pharmacy department and specialty pharmacy division expansion, along with upgrading to the need-it-now convenience model. Our new management is excited and has the entire team looking forward to 2015 and growing Fred's business."

Total sales reflected the closing of 47 stores, or 7% of total stores, during the fourth quarter, which is in line with the company's reconfiguration plan.

During January, Fred’s closed one Xpress location.

Fred's operates 660 discount general merchandise stores, including 19 franchised Fred's stores, in the southeastern United States.

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