Late BTS rush boosts Fred's Aug. sales up 2.8% to $140 million

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred's on Thursday posted $139.9 million in sales, up 2.8%, for the four weeks ended Aug. 25. Comparable-store sales for the month decreased 2.8%, versus an increase of 1.6% in the same period last year.

"Although comparable-store sales for August were slow, an increase in late back-to-school sales put us ahead of our recently issued guidance for the month," Fred's CEO Bruce Efird said. "In addition, our pharmacy department's performance remained strong, primarily due to ongoing script growth and generic drug introductions, together with our aggressive pursuit of new pharmacy acquisitions."

Fred's recently announced several initiatives in an effort to increase foot traffic, including additional direct mailers and the expansion of the company's SmartCard loyalty program. Fred's also expanded assortments across home, hardware and automotive departments.

Fred's total sales for the year-to-date period increased 3% to $1.1 billion. On a comparable-store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 0.8% versus an increase of 0.6% over the same period last year.

During the month, Fred's opened three new stores and five new pharmacies.