MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fred's Inc. (NASDAQ: FRED) today reported sales for the five-week fiscal month of December and the 11-month year-to-date period ended January 3, 2015.
Fred's total sales for the month increased 1% to $210.7 million from $209.1 million in December 2013. Comparable store sales for the month declined 1.4% versus an increase of 1.4% for the same period last year.
Fred's total sales for the year-to-date period increased 1% to $1.830 billion from $1.805 billion for the same period last year. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 1.0% versus an increase of 0.9% for the year-earlier period.
Commenting on the announcement, Jerry A. Shore, Chief Executive Officer, said, "December sales in our pharmacy department continued to do well, with a solid performance in terms of script and sales growth. Specialty pharmacy sales also continued to grow and reached record levels in December. However, we did not meet our general merchandising marketing plan, which resulted in lower traffic and comparable sales for December. The marketing initiatives for general merchandising that we put in place last summer delivered good results during the first five months after implementation; however, as we ran into our competitors' very aggressive marketing programs at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, traffic suffered. Unfortunately, given the required lead times on our advertising circulars, we could not effectively adjust to that unfolding competitive environment. We will, however, be able to refine our holiday merchandise and marketing programs for 2015, having now named a new General Merchandise Manager and with the expected selection of a new President and Chief Operating Officer during the next few weeks.
"Management's efforts have been concentrated on driving traffic in 2015 and restoring profitability," Shore continued. "The team has installed multiple process improvements and buying disciplines, which along with our efforts to strengthen key management roles, will help ensure that we successfully execute our strategic and operating plans in 2015. We are looking forward to 2015 and the realization of the benefits from the process changes that took place in 2014, the new skills and qualifications added to our team, and revisions to our store layout and marketing programs. These changes in the way we approach our business will be key drivers of stronger financial returns in 2015."
During December, Fred's opened two full-service store locations and four Xpress locations. Fred's also closed 47 full-service store locations in line with our reconfiguration plan.
Fred's operates 661 discount general merchandise stores, including 19 franchised Fred's stores, in the southeastern United States. For more information about the Company, visit Fred's website at www.fredsinc.com.
Comments in this news release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. A reader can identify forward-looking statements because they are not limited to historical facts or they use such words as "outlook," guidance," "may," "should," "could," "believe," "anticipate," "plan," "expect," "estimate," "forecast," "goal," "intend," "committed," "continue," or "will likely result" and similar expressions that concern the Company's strategy, plans, intentions or beliefs about future occurrences or results. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those associated with the Company's announced strategic plan, the ultimate terms of the reworked pharmacy distribution agreement, lease buyouts and the underlying assumptions and projections upon which they are based, as well as risks that intended results may not be achieved or may not occur as quickly as expected; general economic trends; changes in consumer demand or purchase patterns; delays or interruptions in the flow of merchandise between the Company's distribution centers and its stores or between the Company's suppliers and same; a disruption in the Company's data processing services; costs and delays in acquiring or developing new store sites; and the factors listed under "Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly filings on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made. Fred's undertakes no obligation to release revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unforeseen events, except as required to be reported under the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.