Branded-to-generic shift impacts Fred's September comps

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s posted a 1% gain in sales, to $17.5 million, for the five weeks ended Oct. 1.

Comparable store sales for September increased 1.1%; comparable store sales were flat in the year-earlier month. The September total sales comparison was adversely affected by store-closing sales that occurred last year during the month.

"Our general merchandise departments performed well during September, highlighted by the strength of our Core 5 Pet and Household Supplies areas, as well as other consumable departments," Fred's CEO Bruce Efird said. "Sales for the month were within our projections as strong customer traffic offset a lower average customer ticket. The ongoing brand-to-generic shift within the pharmacy department, however, continued to affect comparable store sales. Additionally, the timing of Social Security payments resulted in a sales shift from September to October. With sales for the first two months of the third quarter tracking within the projected range, we remain confident with our forecasted earnings for the quarter."

Fred's total sales for the year-to-date period increased 2% to $1.2 billion. On a comparable-store basis, year-to-date sales increased 0.6%, versus an increase of 2.3% for the same period last year.