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Fred's got the chills in February

-- Home Textiles Today, March 6, 2014

Memphis - Regional discount chain Fred's Inc. today reported below-plan comp declines as well as soft sales in February thanks to persistent wintry weather in the Southeast.

For the four-week period ended March 1, total sales dipped 1.0% to $157.5 million compared with $159.0 million in February 2013, and comps decreased 2.2% versus a decrease of 1.5% in the prior-year period.

"Extreme cold temperatures, ice and snow across the southeast during February were major factors behind the lower-than-expected comparable store sales for the month," said Bruce Efird, ceo. "Like January, this weather disrupted consumer shopping trends, resulting in store closings and reduced operating hours at a significant number of our locations."

However, Fred's continued to see positive comparable store sales during February in its hometown auto & hardware, pet, and pharmacy departments, he noted.

Looking ahead to the near future, Fred's will continue to implement its reconfiguration plan in 60 to 80 stores with the hometown auto & hardware department and seasonal expansions during March and April, Efird added.

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