Fred's reports net income spike for Q3

MEMPHIS Fred's third-quarter net income increased 55% to $7.8 million, or 20 cents per diluted share, compared with the prior-year period, the retailer announced Tuesday.

Fred's total sales for the third quarter ended Oct. 30 increased 3% to $435 million from $422.4 million for the same period last year. The company also disclosed comparable-store sales for the quarter increased 1.5%, compared with an increase of 1% in the third quarter last year.

Operating income for the third quarter rose 52% to $11.7 million, or 2.7% of sales, compared with $7.7 million, or 1.8%, in the prior-year period.

Fred's CEO Bruce Efird attributed the successful quarter to the implementation of "ongoing changes to drive customer traffic and margin expansion, with an emphasis on [our] Core 5 program, an upgraded merchandise assortment and enhancements to the look of the stores," he said.

Looking ahead, Fred's anticipated an increase in its earnings per diluted share (a 33% to 60% jump) to a range of 20 cents to 24 cents.