Fred’s said Thursday that sales for the four weeks ended Aug. 26 totaled $153 million, down 4.2% from $159.7 million a year earlier. The company attributed the decline mainly to the closing of 39 underperforming stores in the first quarter.
Comp-store sales in August dipped 0.5% year over year, compared with a 3% decrease reported for August 2016.
August same-store sales reflect were negatively affected by a higher generic drug dispensing rate and a 0.5% impact from the sale of low productive discontinued inventory versus the prior-year period, according to Fred’s.
“Total comparable store sales for August show continued improvement from trends over the past 12 months, and overall pharmacy comps remained positive in August,” Fred’s chief executive officer Michael Bloom said in a statement. “Front store showed positive comp growth in our general merchandise, health care and beauty categories, which were offset by market headwinds in the core consumables categories. We are encouraged by the momentum resulting from the turnaround efforts that are under way.”
Overall, Fred’s has 600 discount general merchandise stores in the Southeast, including approximately 350 pharmacies and 14 franchised locations, and three specialty pharmacy-only locations.