Fred's announces increases in cash dividend, share repurchase program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred's on Thursday announced an increase in the company's quarterly cash dividend by 20% to 6 cents per share, and an increase in the company's stock repurchase program to an additional 3.6 million shares, or 10% of the currently outstanding shares.

"The board is pleased to announce the fourth consecutive year in which we have raised the dividend while successfully executing our share repurchase program," Fred's chairman Michael Hayes said. "Our decision took into consideration our strong cash flow, the 2012 financial plan and the capital requirements of continued new store and pharmacy growth."

The dividend is payable on March 15 to shareholders of record as of March 1.