Fred's stronger September sales attributed to pharmacy comps, script growth

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Fred's sales increased to $177.3 million in September, the discount store chain said Thursday.

The Memphis, Tenn.-based company, which operates 702 stores in the South, said the monthly sales figures represented a 4% increase over September 2012. Same-store sales increased by 2.8%, compared with a 3.8% decrease last year.

For the year to date, sales were $1.3 billion, a 1% increase over $1.3 billion during the same period last year. Same-store sales increased by 0.8%, compared with a 1.2% decrease last year.

"This improvement reflected ongoing positive trends in our general merchandise and pharmacy departments," Fred's CEO Bruce Efird said. "We continue to experience success from our reconfiguration plan, as the pharmacy department comparable-store sales and script growth were key to this month's performance."

Efird also said the chain rolled out its reconfiguration plan — which includes an expanded Health Aids department and an auto and hardware department — to 95 more stores, meaning 320 stores in total are now reconfigured.