Fred’s on Feb. sales decline
Fred’s Inc. (“Fred’s Pharmacy” or “the Company”) (NASDAQ:FRED) today reported sales for the four-week fiscal month of February, the first month of fiscal 2017, which ended February 25, 2017.
Fred’s total sales for the month decreased 3.5% year-over-year to $165.4 million from $171.4 million in February 2016. Total comparable store sales for the month declined 4.0% compared with a 0.8% increase in comparable sales in the prior year period.
Commenting on the announcement, Michael K. Bloom, Chief Executive Officer, said, “Despite the tax refund delay impacting a significant percentage of our customer base and our front of store sales, we are pleased with the progress we are making against our strategic plan, demonstrated by our continued improvement in Retail and Specialty Pharmacy. This is an affirmation that our healthcare strategy is working. Notably, comparable store sales in our overall Pharmacy business were strong in the month, driven by positive adjusted prescription comparisons.”
Mr. Bloom continued, “Progress against our strategic plan in the front of store was offset in February by the significant delay of individual tax refunds, which are down approximately 13% year-over-year.1 However, comparable sales in our front of store improved in the last week of February as individual refunds were received by customers. Looking ahead to March and the remainder of the first quarter, we expect customer spending will continue to increase as tax refunds are received.
“We continue to execute on our strategic initiatives aimed at providing healthcare services and value merchandise in the markets we serve. We remain confident in our long-term transformational strategy to capitalize on the opportunity to grow sales and enhance value for our shareholders.”